Love Story 2050. Review

Harman Baweja’s debut film they said. The concept is unimaginable, they said. This is a landmark film they said. This is a very expensive film they said. This film will keep you glued, they said. All true. All so very true.

‘I dont need luck. I have love’ so says Harman Baweja in the movie. You can have all the love, sirs, but please try bringing in some acting, storyline and a degree of respect for your audience! Else, please place a big request for luck !

The movies is all about Australia circa 2008 & Mumbai circa 2050. Some crooning around trees and fabulous locales ( ok that was the only element that stayed with me), presumably around Australia. Propose. Death of the heroine. Time machine. Fast forward. The ‘in-love’ hero races into time & Mumbai, 2050 & fetches his ladylove. And by the way, returns to Sydney. 2008 !

Ok ! Inbetween we have all those elements that ‘lost & found’ love storys have. The song that the lovers sang, long back. The personal diary that had a few things were written. And such sundries. Other films have the handkerchief, keychains, rings et al ! The differentiator here though is the lost and found straddles zones that were hitherto left pristine. : Mumbai, 2050 !

What a way to introduce Mumbai 2050 to the world ! Of concrete jungle, flying bikes, cars, and of course hero-villain chases in the air. Movies are about tall stories. Thats fine. The finesse with which the tall stories merge into the mind of the audience is what etches a memory. Alternatively, it falls flat. Like this one !

There were some plus points though. The next seat was empty. For some reason, i had connectivity on the phone. The GPRS was on & i did a few things that were long pending. Like blogging and twittering. Other than twisting and turning in the seat !

About the movie itself, the less said the better.

Yes. It was about Harman Baweja and his first movie. Now, We know.
Yes, the treatment of the concept is unimaginable.
Yes. This is a landmark. But to a wrong place in the wrong way.
Yes. I was glued. To my phone.

I was reading this review which ends “….I wish if Harry Baweja had used this much effort in creating something logistic then would not be such waste of resources'”.

Logistics…pal ? You mean…. Oh yes. The film is all about logistics!! I hope they evolve and start moving minds too. Sometime. In the future !

Movies seem to be leaning towards death and afterlife. I guess they know, with this kind of a movie, we need to have hope !

Dasavatharam. The 10 Avataars of…

When Kamal Haasan says he has made a movie with 10 characters, the world sits upto take note. When he has Jackie Chan saying something to the same effect, it indeed catches attention.

So, we did land up at the theatre on the first day. In the so many months in Mumbai, this was the first time that no empty seat stared at me. House Full !!

I try and listen to what audiences say, post the movie, for it gives me an indication. So there was an young man who said, “it’s a technically well made movie”. There was another with a ‘try me’ T-Shirt who quipped to another: “This was Hollywood style”.

I was lost. When comments are this incongruous to my opinions, well, it provokes thought. Did I miss something? Was there more? Am I getting too old?!? Am in uncool?!?

Kamal Haasan stars in 10 different roles. (And one of them as George Bush. Goodness gracious me!) The fact that tremendous amount of physical work must have gone into plastering the different masks on the face is well acknowledged. Digital rework & multi-media magic is doubly acknowledged. Some ‘daredevil’ stunts… hmmm perhaps noticed. Every rookie filmstar claims a trapezoid linkage to Tarzan these days.

Imagine. You are loaded with cash, and you want to buy a car.

Imagine a crystal adorned dashboard. Throw in the best of designer leather trim and fabulous bucket seats. The best of 18 inch radials and alloys. The slickest of gear shifts. Get the best possible German powertrains and shock absorbers. The best of gadgets. Including an ashtray with remote control ! ( God help you to understand how you would use it from the rear seat. ).

And then in a ‘masterful’ stroke, put in a 600 CC engine inside the boot. What are you likely to see? A wonderful concept that offers all possibilities to your imagination. Until the time you crank the engine put the car in move.

I have long held the belief that a movie’s heart lies in its story. In the plot. If that is weak, everything else becomes irrelevant!

Dasavatharam is something similar. A very weak story line and 10 different Kamals. If there was any role which still holds my attention, it is the characters of Balram Naidu, the RAW officer & Vincent, the activist. Every other character is forgettable.

Some make ups are tacky and seemed to suggest a disfigurement perhaps due to steroid overuse rather than a make up !

Stunt sequences show up in predictable intervals. BMW. Helicopter. Motorbike. Local train. Lorry. Tempo Traveller. Jeep. Cargo plane. US roads. Agraharams. Sky rises. All provide backdrops to some loud noised bashing up of somebody on screen.

The intensity of my own dislike for the movie is clear. It was a shoddy piece of work in weaving it all together!

Amongst the many other scenes, which I stared in disbelief, was the ‘love’ conversation happening with the Tsunami suffering in the backdrop. To me that was insensitive and appalling. And by the way, if you have throat cancer & you get shot, the bullet can dislodge the cancer and you can be fit as a fiddle !

That was Dasavatharam for you. Despite all the technical wizardy ( of having scenes with four Kamals in the same car etc), carrying a plot without substance. Faces without meaning. And meaning far suspended from reason!

And this billed as the most expensive film ever made in India, I was already yawning when KS Ravi Kumar dances to ‘ulllaaaga – naaayaganea’ in the end.

A cryptic comment from somewhere floated in the air. “Dasavatharam: The ten avatars of pain !!” That summed it up well.

Taare Zameen Par

The rave reviews and hearing some good feedback, propelled us to a theatre. To watch Taare Zameen Par. This is no review. Just my thoughts !

Good movie. Refreshingly different. Heres why. No dance sequences with dancers wearing clothes that would take us close to the days of adam & eve. No bad apple(s). No rain sequences. No ‘one-stroke-ten-people-fly’ sequences. No Switzerland. No swanky sets. No big bad guy wielding big guns. No sequence of cars….

And surprise. It still is a movie made in India. Still moving. Still enormously engrossing. And still holding attention of an almost house full theatre two – three weeks into the opening. For a 10.30 PM show. Well, that’s some chin scratching & thinking to do. Quite some. And hey watch that chin!

To me movies like this represent the refreshing presence of ‘thinking’ that is on. To look beyond. Yet see it as part of mainstream. And make it commercially viable. And more importantly making a mass of people do something that they are encouraged to less of these days: think!

The movie shows an Indian middle class family with the ‘regular’ ambitions of making it big. And it was a very vivid one at that. The ‘alarm-egg-bread-ariport’ sequence was so natural. I mean, so like my own life !

It is there that the movie wins over. Taare Zameen Par is a reachable & relatable movie. I mean, it could be my own house. Or my next door neighbour. It could have been my own school. My class mates. And Ishan or his elder brother could have been me or my brother ! The film is striking in the way it makes you connect to your past and atleast make a few resolutions about the future. As a film maker, that should give immense satisfaction!

The film revolves around a dyslexic child who struggles at school. And his struggle to overcome, aided by his art teacher. His struggle is gut wrenching. So much so, that I began squirming and hoping that help ( Aamir Khan ) would arrive soon. And help doesn’t do so till intermission. It is equally wrenching to think that such help doesn’t get presented to every other kid outside screen.

After that came a portion of a film which seemed to focus on ‘a message’ so much so that the pace seemed to falter. Thankfully, that’s only for a short time and it finally gets knit together well for a good & effective closure. I quite liked it! It is a film for every adult who is interested ( or has a responsibility ) in children & education must watch.

There were quite a few actors who held my attention by living the roles they played. Ishan. His dad. His mom. His brother. His classmates. His English teacher at boarding school. The hindi teacher. (I ‘saw’ some of my teachers). Prasoon Joshi’s lyrics, Ehsan Loy’s music, the camera..well, I guess I’ve got everybody covered !

I don’t think I need to write much about Aamir Khan. He’s got guts to direct and produce this movie. And is willing to sweat it through. Thats another lesson he teaches. By just being who he is. Hats off.

Our marks focused educations system needs some reform. Hope this and other films like this will bring in a mass momentum to understand the distinct differences between marks and learning. We have some distance to cover.

Now for other stuff. I frankly don’t understand how people can speak on mobile phones and bring small children to watch movies. At 10.30 PM in the night.

But the crown goes to this. At the end of the movie, just as we were trudging out, there was a mother who said in all seriousness to her small son, about Ishan Awasthi’s age : “ beta, you should also paint well like Ishan to get that first prize”.

I scratched my chin. And it hurt. Looks like we have a long distance to cover.