Common Mango !

Its the season for Mangoes ! And the lovely sweet Alphonso variety is doing the rounds. And of course, the one who can stop at just eating one, is inhuman, supernatural or plain stupid. It depends on which side you look at it from !!

Pooris and Aam Ras are the seasons favourite in many restaurants like this one

And as usual, whats in season is in season. Like here. And so, she makes a dish which is called ‘Aam Ras’. ‘Aam = Mango. Ras = Juice’ she painstakingly explains. He tilts his head and tries to remember. This hindi word ‘Aam’ seems to be familiar.

This ‘Aam Ras’ puts him in a rush. He dips into the luxurious ‘Mango pulp – mixed with milk – served chilled’ (And so he thinks. And that’s the closest this blog has ever got to a recipe). And says, ‘Its addictive’. And means every intonation. Very much so.

And mangoes, this season seem to be everywhere. Or so it seems to him. Newspaper reports are much to the contrary. Some mangoes are pricey. Some cheap. But all, worth a little haranguing and a bargain.

And as he ploughs into one more scoop, there is a flash of recollection. With a flash of the Hindi education that’s in progress, he asks her.. ” ‘Aam’ also means ‘common’ right ? ”

She arches her eyebrows. Sensing that the devils company is set to show some results. ‘Aam Aadmi’ as in the political campaign means “Common Man”, right ?’ She nods her head. Half in disinterest. Half in irritation.

And then, the words escape his lips. “Or is it possible, that they really want to call the commoner a proper ‘Mango’ ?!? ” She face palms. ‘Incorrigible’. She says. And asks him if he wants some more. The head nods vigorously. ‘Upon one condition’. She says.

The second helping is had.

In total silence.

Kidnap. Movie Review

When the Chocolate Boy is playing kidnapper, well, that is something to see. That was the line that was used to lure me to the movie hall.

Kidnap‘ attempts a whole lot. It does have some interesting twists and turns in the plot. The only problem that i have here, that regulars here are now aware of, is the fact that Hindi movies try too much. Too hard. Stretching the story beyond what is necessary. Even extending it to the point where it tears apart and hurts !

Kidnap is no exception. It has a racy start. [And God ( & only he ) knows why there has to be ‘bikini beach song’ to open the movie & such other ‘generous’ scenes ! Is the average movie goer so much of a starved character that he (or she) is going to get pulled into the movie because of such sequences. It puts me off & perhaps shows an impoverished mind of those at the helm of making such movies].

Coming back to the movie, the dour faced Imran Khan tries his best to look tough by consistently maintaining a dour face. Sanjay Dutt plays the role of a billionaire worth $ 52.7 ( billions of course) & more importantly, father to Minisha Lamba & divorced husband of Vidya Malvade.

The plot is about Imran Khan extracting his revenge for an affront that resulted in a jail sentence, scars on the body etc etc, at the behest of the billionaire gent many years back. And that revenge extraction is through the kidnapping of the billionaire’s daughter and making some ‘demands’.

The demands include, traveling from somewhere in Mumbai to Panvel in about 40 minutes ( i think) & saying ‘sorry’ to a nun on the train, organising a jail http://premier-pharmacy.com/product-category/migraine/ break, breaking into a Mutka don’s home, committing a murder etc. I quite liked the underlying this message : travelling from anywhere to anywhere in Mumbai in 40 mins, is as tough as orchestrating a jail break or such other tasks. That is one heck of a social message, to me !!!

Well, Sanjay Dutt, manages to do all of these. Of course. And the flawless execution & remarkable ease of these executions, makes me wonder why my corporate life seems so tough ! Duh !

Ultimately, it has an alls-well-ends-well ending. And as the film meandered to a close, for a moment, i had sweaty palms and a strange fright that the movie would end with Imran Khan and Minisha Lamba ‘falling in love’ ! Thankfully, that pain didnt ensue !

I think one chase sequence involving Sanjay Dutt and Imran Khan was quite absorbing. Although, Sanjay Dutt’s flab shows all the way through ! Other than that, the basic plot of the movie was rather sturdy. And Imran Khan almost manages to carry the film on his shoulders. Those are what go well for the movie.

On the other hand, Minisha Lamba’s screen prescence, minimal chemistry between Imran & Minisha, Sanjay Dutt and Vidya Malvade, gloriously inept dialogues, inappropriate costume design, remarkable overloading / stretching of the story & such else gets you to twist and turn in your seat !

(Minisha Lamba appears to have packed for the kidnapping. Thats the kind of costumes she wears while remaining a captive. Not that what she wore a lot….but you get the idea dont you…!?)

Bolder editing, tauter dialogues, lesser of grind routines, better casting, and absorbing performances would have provided with a much more wholesome experience. I guess thats like all parts of movie making ! Almost !

And when Imran Khan, says, ‘hell is right here’ you may want to think that he is talking about the audience and the movie hall. To be fair, the movie isn’t completely bad. It held promise for a brief while. The angst that resides in me is this : that promise, however brief it was for, did not sustain!

Wish it had.

Welcome To Sajjanpur.

Shyam Benegal was the pull factor ! That name was enough for us to troop into watch ‘Welcome to Sajjanpur‘ ! We weren’t completely disappointed !

Its quite a different movie, than the ones that we have seen from the Benegal stable. Its a very simple, easy and intense tale, told with a fluid pen and structured thought! As usual, the characters, the visuals, smart lines, and neat casting makes the village and the story come alive.

This is a tale about an aspiring novelist beginning his career in his small village, as a letter-writer ! His writing flair comes in handy as a viable option for enabling a largely ‘illiterate’ village to reach out to the world ! And as he becomes the enabler, the world speaks through him, so to speak !

Deeper themes emerge in the movie. In all its ‘humour’ and ‘light-hearted’ tale, Shyam Benegal does manage to bring to the fore, some issues ! Widow-Remarriage, Power and the marginalised sections of society, village politics and their polarisation etc !

As light and flowing it can get, the movie and its themes are quite intense ! At least, it was to me. Some dialogues were really ‘cool’ and so was the music ! This definitely is not in the ‘best of Benegal‘ category, with certain portions floundering quite a bit ! But it all falls in place as it meanders along !

With rustic hindi from the heartland and a realistic portrayal, it did seem to have already attracted a different audience at the multiplexes !

Easy tale. Realistic portrayal. By and large, decent acting. And Benegal as the director. That would help overlook other factors that weigh against the movie !

Must admit, we did get a few good laughs !

Singh is King. Movie Review

For some reason this movie is spelt ‘Singh is Kinng.’ The king with a double ‘n’. For emphasis perhaps.

So we went on Friday evening. Part lured by the catchy music played out ever so many times on music channels & part goaded by friends and fellow bloggers, who said in no uncertain terms that this movie will be an ‘entertainer’. And so, it was. Atleast, it tried hard to.

Singh is Kinng‘ is about a do-gooder ( Akshay Kumar, who else) who wants to do more good. A simpleton who ends up wrecking half the village in the pursuit of ( digitally animated, as the movie claims) chicken et al, in the name of doing good. You get the idea, don’t you.

The village conspires to keep him out with a tall order of bringing back a gent named Lucky Singh, who migrated a long while ago as a simple man and is now a don in Australia.

In effect, this is all about Happy going after lucky. And in a very happy-go-lucky way, the movie takes us to Australia. ( so they claim). And, Oh, in between, a boarding pass mishap leads us to Egypt, Katrina Kaif and some catchy tunes.

The rest of the story is about how circumstances play out in Australia, and how Happy Sing stands in for Lucky Singh, the big don ! As much as the Happy-go-Lucky scenes pan out its about a few songs, dialogue sequences and scenes that try hard to tickle your funny bone. With little ( ok, slightly more than little ) success.

Given all of the above, you can draw up the plot before i spell b-r-e-e-z-e. Munnabhai style good acts in the name of ‘bad’ give unintended ‘good’ side effects & pave the way for reform of dreaded gangsters.

Katrina & Ranvir Shorey are a pair from the past (precedes the movie). Ranvir (of course) is the sophisticated & insensitive coward, who does all the wrong, while Akshay represents the very opposite of those adjectives. So you know. Any more on the story http://premier-pharmacy.com/product-category/weight-loss/ line would be bordering on demeaning your intelligence on logical hindi movie conclusions.

For the record, Om Puri, Javed Jaffrey, Kiron Kher, Neha dhupia, Kamal Chopra, Yashpal Sharma & Sonu Sood are part of the cast.

I was clearly told (by wife and friends) to keep logic, intelligence & such other, that are quite alien to bollywood outside and walk into the hall. With those apart, i was another simpleton watching the movie ! And wasn’t completely disappointed.

Here are the pluses. The film does elicit a few grins. Ok a few laughs too. If you haven’t watched it many times on National Geographic, you can watch the pyramids of Giza. This time with Katrina Kaif as the backdrop ! (ditto with the Gold Coast). Also, you also have to give it to Akshay for having screen presence. Those catchy tunes are catchy.

Now the minuses. Patchy screen play, the irrelevance of some characters, wasted artistes, very funny attempts at fun, stereotyped characters, predictable storyline…OK. I guess the logic part that i had left behind, just returned. So, will stop here.

And just as parting information, Snoop Dogg has a number in the movie. You see him as credits roll and you walk from the hall. But by then, you are scurrying for the exist that you don’t bother ! ( If you enjoy Snoop Dogg & his music that is )

Now that ‘logic’ has returned there is one question thats I cant resist asking. So, will ask.

Why must every movie of every genre ( comedy, melodrama etc etc) end with the hero giving a speech ( a.k.a discourse) on friendship, values, nation etc etc ! Its funny isnt it ?

When they try to make me laugh all through the movie, i try hard to resist crying at the my self-inflicted plight. But in the end, when they try hard to get me moved and perhaps bring a tear to the corner my eye, i laugh !!

Perhaps thats why ! But, the question remains !