Let’s talk about a death in the gunj!

Do you ever feel like you are reading a novel while you are actually watching a movie? That is the exact experience that A Death in the Gunj going to give your senses. It is slow, immersive and layered. It is going to give you characters which are fully fleshed out, with their individual quirks and their interactions with each other which define their relations. I mean even the maid in the movie has a personality. Set in 1979, the movie is a flashback of a week’s time with a family vacationing around New Years celebrations. 

You are also introduced to Shutu (His name is Shyamal but then when have we settled on calling Bengali characters with their actual names!) He is this subdued being in the family with no real implication in anybody’s life. He is loved but not admired. He is acknowledged but not respected. And most of all he is not understood. He is bullied, made fun of and the worst- he is treated like a kid. It’s his journey at the end of the day and you accompany him on this ride. You connect with him because you can see yourself in him and more so because Vikrant Massey, the actor who plays him, is just pure amazeballs!

If Lootera had better acting, Finding Fanny was less star studded and Kapoor & Sons was not from Dharma- they would be A Death in the Gunj. However, I do have to admit that the trailer seemed more fast paced and hence might be a mismatch for some of the people. You need to be patient to enjoy this one and once you invest in the characters and what drives them- you will enjoy the journey. 

I do have to give it to Konkana for making such subtle progressive undertones to the movie. It is a world where eating a cake offered to a grave is just frisked away. It is a world where an afternoon of a couple going at it is nothing unnatural. It is a world where desires are expressed and acted upon. 

It is not a movie for people who like them flashy and song-ey! It is for people who are inclined to invest. It’s an experience. 

Hits- Vikrant Massey, Konkana Sen Sharma’s direction, Simple yet effective plot

Misses- The Indian Accent!

Take a bow- Wonder Woman is here!

Image result for wonder woman 2017A dear friend asked me to describe the movie in just 3 words and I could only come up with- “It was great!” And most probably, that is what you are going to feel after you have watched this one. You start with the Greek Mythology of how the Amazons came into existence and how there was a God still lurking around to take his revenge. That very soon in the film is also interspersed with what is going on in the ‘human world’ and you are introduced to the times of World War 1, a British spy and a couple of megalomaniac Germans developing a poisonous gas for mass destruction.

The beauty of the script is that it is simple. It is exactly what Wonder Woman would see and experience throughout the film so the viewer never leaves her side. Well for good reason, HAVE YOU SEEN HER! Phew!! She is taken out of a paradisaical land and introduced to the world where men take charge, where women and children die and where she teams up with few who are righteous and want to really do some good, to save the day. Don’t expect anymore plot details because you don’t do that to wafer thin plots.

Gal Gadot, that beauty is everything that you wish for in Wonder Woman. It is not an easy role at all to take on. She looks absolutely stunning, she knows what to do with her body in that skimpy dress and she knows how to look vulnerable and innocent in the scenes where she realises that the world is not that simple. There were hoots in the hall when she walks in slow motion, in all her glory, to fight an attack from opposing army! But it’s not like the man in the film is any less. Chris Pine is so underrated yet so effective. He has this charm and comic timing that work for him throughout. He is the bridge between her world and his and he brings substance wherever required. You would have a constant smile on your face during their initial interaction and would feel for their pain in the end. I hate them for doing whatever they did to Robin Wright’s (Claire Underwood) character in the first part of the movie. And the villain (the initial one at least) is just too done to death with. At a certain point, I got confused if it was a Marvel crossover. Why do you have to cast such similar looking villains!

But the movie is entertaining throughout. You get some bit of mythology, action, drama, war, comedy and seemingly genuine emotions. And a lot of the credit should go to the amazing one, a wonder woman herself if you will- the director of the movie- Patty Jenkins. Baaki sab is all what you need in these high budget fantasy movies- the costumes, the scale, the effects- everything is right there. There is a lot of slo mo- a lot of it but it looks effective at most points. The final fight is slightly jarring because of it’s over saturated special effects.

Hits- Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Patty Jenkins, a probable revival of DC universe
Misses- Over stylised CGI, wafer thin plot, Robin Wright’s character- she could have done so much more

All in all- A good weekend watch!

 

OfHandmaid’sTale: Review of a classic

The Handmaid's Tale intertitle.png

How do you know something is so bizarre but so much possible? How do you know that a piece of literature is so aptly relevant even after decades of it being published for the first time? How do you know you live in a world of fear, subjugation and surrounding dystopia? All of this by watching the latest rendition of The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood.

Published in 1985, the book has been in continuous publication since its first appearance, has been a source material for a feature film and for several stage and audio adaptations. The latest entry to this is a show of the same name starring Elizabeth Ross (What an actress!). The series follows OFFRED, which by the way is not her real name. She belongs to Commander Fred and hence she is OF-FRED to own and use as a lifeless piece of meat to impregnate and bear children for his family. In the presence of his wife who holds Offred in her lap while he does the deed. If that does not send chills down your spine, what would!? Streaming on Hulu, the show is going to shake you in more than one way. Not because of how beautifully it’s shot, not because it has great actors working their best to liven up the super screwed characters but because it seems so so relevant. How all of it is so so POSSIBLE.

For the longest time, people have taken up this source material for its themes of female subjugation, same-sex relationships, the status of women and how they are the biggest enemies of their own kind and how any kind of extreme governance is a slap on the evolution of human race. And the show does justice to it all. There are extreme closeups of Elizabeth which would really take you into her headspace. We see brutality being a way of oppression if one does not comply with the totalitarian view of the Republic.

We follow two storylines around Offred- of her past and present life. How she is separated from her daughter and husband and how she hopes to be free one day to meet her daughter again. There are flashbacks that will make you weepy, anxious and just unsettled at times. The one thing that they don’t touch upon is racism as strongly as it was featured in the book. But I do get the logic behind it, it is not about a race- it’s about how everyone is the same in the eyes of ones who suppress. 

Eyes remind me- The Republic of Gilead can possibly spy on every move. Creepy? Well, think of your phone’s microphones listening to you at all times. #MindFuck 
And like any other dystopian setup, there is an uprising. That is something that you would see more of probably in the coming episodes. I forget that I have read the book so I know exactly what happens with the story. They might change some of it- they might extend some of it- because when has a successful show (if it is) stopped after just one season!

But there’s definitely a lot to be seen and more importantly felt! It’s a story to watch out for, it’s a story to internalise. Do check it out if you don’t want something slightly heavy and just plain creepy!

Hits: Acting, set up, source material, gripping
Misses- Maybe the pace, not a light show which you would watch after a tough day

BUT DO WATCH! Toodles!

(Picture Credit- Wikicommons)

Keep calm and speak in Hindi

You guys are going to be (maybe) slightly disappointed with the review because you are going to hear all good things about this one everywhere else. The much talked about Hindi Medium. It is completely fine if you didn’t hear about the movie till very recently. You are not alone. Maybe the Dank Irrfan meme video by AIB is more talked about than the movie. Yes, that was a promotional endeavour. 

Let’s not digress though; let’s talk about the movie. There is this understanding that we all have with these movies- we know that the movie is going to be a commentary on something prevalant in the world we live, it is going to caricaturise and create exaggerated copies of real life characters and then going to end with a ‘sermon on the mount’ scene where every heart will melt in one go and BAM! Problem? What Problem? But there is also a problem with that arrangement. Why can most of such movies not rise above that. Ever. 

Specific to this movie- that’s what largely happens. You will find it slightly ridiculous to believe that these super rich people albeit from Chandni Chowk will ever do even half of what is shown in the movie. The movie starts with the problem of immense pressure on parents to get their kids enrolled in Nursery (I am so glad I was born when I was born- and you thought I am going to give you the decade of my birth. Ha!). Delves slightly into how parents become a looming inhibition if they are not up to mark. And then suddenly becomes a commentary on classism. And then all these are resolved through a change of heart, some minutes of screen time for redemption and then finally a climax song and speech. 

Cool, you want me to believe all that, I will. But don’t expect to be happy to hear things like “Inn bachhon ko (referring to underprivileged kids from a government school) agar ye school (the best school in the city) mile toh ye aasman fodke aage nikal sakte hain.” Excuse me? Wrong messaging much? Are you resolving with the fact that education in these 5 star resorts in the name of schools is better than the average public or private school?

The films calls for all this upon itself because it promises to raise a problem and provide maybe an idealistic resolution. But all this doesn’t take away from the sheer talent that is Irrfan Khan and more than him, the STAR- Deepak Dobriyal. Watch this movie just for them. So effortless, so involved and so impactful. Irrfan’s wifey in the film is not bad too. She does what she is required to do. Sanjay Suri and Neha Dhupia- please! I mean please. Stay at home rather than doing these cameos. And Amrita Singh- how are you acting better than ever in your career now? She is good too. Don’t miss another stereotypical portrayal of a Delhi girl by Mallika Dua in a brief cameo. She gets some laughs out in the theatre though, so it is only a repetition for people who follow her on digital platforms. 

In conclusion, watch it because it is better than general shit that bollywood throws at our faces at most times. But get your patience pills handy for the second half. 

Positives- Irrfan Khan, Deepak Dobriyal. Do you need more?

Negatives- Stereotypical predictable story, hard to accept plot development
Picture credits- Maddock Films

Mere pyaare Ayushman

Image result for meri pyaari bindu

I watched several movies in these past few weeks. Movies, in my head, are these therapeutic mediums that come to your rescue in the darkest times. Whether you are happy or heartbroken, movies are there to give you the much needed catharsis. And somehow that is what I expected Meri Pyaari Bindu to do for me. I always thought this would be a movie of moments- sweet, emotional, cherishable. But as the movie starting rolling, a flickering NO starting flashing in different corners. Essentially (yes, I use that a lot) it boiled down to three things- Ayushman’s subtle performance, a new favourite in ‘Maana ki hum yaar nahin’ (maybe because of current mood) and Parineeti’s makeover (read weight loss). The third one being the most prominent.

The movie wasn’t bad and it might be liked by some but it did not seal the deal for me. Not at least in the first watch. And the super apparent post production dubbing by actors did not help. It was like hearing an audio recording over a video that was playing. Even if the story wasn’t the most layered, I was ready to give in to the charm of the film but it never rose up to the occasion. Bindu was supposedly this super quirky, strong headed, whimsical girl who knew her way around the world. She got everything super easy because she was street smart and also because she had a loyal loyal friend in Abhimanyu. But then what happened? She got into the music scene with much ease but then broke down with one miss? She broke 2 engagements before falling for the male lead but then broke it with him too because she was not in the best phases of her life. Fair. But umm..2 years and you not only found another man, you decided to marry him without giving a second try for a person who loved you since he saw you two decades ago. I did not buy into it. Especially when the issue was never their equation.

But the old classics infused some energy into the film which was a refreshing break from very average album otherwise. Parineeti sang and she sang good but acting- Aenn! (it was a phonetic expression- try it. Aenn! Like a buzzer, Aenn!). But But But Ayushman Khurrana. He was a real gem when compared to everything around the movie. He was so nuanced, sincere and so present. Watch this movie for him.

Pluses- Ayushman Khuranna, One song at the end, How the movie is shot, Old melodies
Minuses- Parineeti and equally the film makers- get over the weight loss, Wafer thin story line, Doesn’t have moments

 

(Picture credits- Yash Raj Movies)

So excited about being ‘Trapped’

Have you heard of this movie Trapped releasing tomorrow? If not, let me tell you. This might be the most underplayed and un-marketed movie in the recent times but is very promising. By the looks of it (trailer), Trapped, directed by Vikramaditya Motwane, appears to be about a man who is locked in. Where? His own house. Is he kidnapped? No. Is this under some extraordinary circumstances- does not appear so. Just a very regular day where he is leaving in a hurry to pick someone up; someone who he has decorated the house with a ‘WELCOME’ sign for.

Trapped_Poater

But in an unfortunate turn of events, he is trapped in his own house with no resources to fall back on. Just imagine that scenario- an innocent setting with so much to take from you if it gets this peculiar. 

It does not seem to have any other characters physically present in the movie except for the super ignorant security guard that Raj Kumar Rao- the superbly brilliant actor- keeps calling out for.

The movie is set in a high res apartment building and takeson the isolation and survival of this man throughout. So simple but impactful. The film had its world premiere at the Mumbai Film Festival on October 26, 2016 where it was praised and received a standing ovation. After releasing on March 17, 2017, it would be made available on Netflix. Yay!

Do check out the trailer for the movie and catch it at a theatre near you tomorrow onwards. 

Image Source: Wikipedia

 

This ‘was’ us- At least till the next season!

Oh my god! What a show, This is us. If you haven’t already started watching it, you are missing onto some real emotions, drama and a reflection of your own life- trust me when I say this- everyone can relate to some or the other part of it.

The first season of this awesome show just concluded and this piece is going to be full of spoilers so really if you haven’t started watching it yet- catch it on hotstar and binge it away.

There was so much talk about how Jack is going to pass away, how is his story arc going to culminate in the last episode of this season, where will it leave the relationship between Rebecca and Jack, etc. etc. And the season finale rose so much above all of that. It was such a fulfilling experience to watch a couple who were from different worlds met with a mere coincidence and changed each others’ lives forever. How Jack is flawed, emotional but earnest and how Rebecca is this giving, stable partner who is reminded of what she gave up by her own life at a juncture where she ‘wasn’t needed anymore’. How they came together to not only build their own lives but also impact the three lives that were ‘responsible’ for. Not to forget, they were on such different paths but came together so seamlessly and that can never be summarized better than how Jack did during last few minutes of the episode.

The show has to be watched for the sheer chemistry that the entire cast shares. And calling them cast members seems like an insult to their talent- they ARE the characters they are playing. And so bloody well. I am just too overwhelmed after watching it and I really can vouch for it that you will too if you are even slightly, what do we call it, umm…HUMAN! The fight between Jack and Rebecca- Oh my God! Such a reflection of what a relationship really is.

Even though the finale did not really show a lot concerning the other characters, the couple of minutes spent on them were so apt. New opportunities for Kevin- do not miss the ‘those three magical words’ too from his woman. Revelations for Randall and Kate. And just so so much of excitement for what the future and the past in this show’s case hold for these characters.

Please watch, you will love it.

Those of you, who think that this is not your cup of tea- Still share this piece with your friends, ALIENS (Koii…Mil Gaya Music cue- AUM AUM AUM!)

 

Image Source: Wikipedia