Peepli Live

Certainly one of the best movies I have seen this year. A satirical take on the serious issue of farmer suicides in the country and a very good depiction of how politicians and media typically work/react. Wonderful performances by the cast. Kudos to Anusha Rizvi and her team and to Aamir Khan for bringing this gem to us.

Movie: Raavanan/ Raavan

Liked the movie for the cinematography, music (songs + BGM) and performances by some of the cast (especially Vikram). The movie though couldn’t have kept me engaged throughout if not for Santosh Sivan’s superb camera work and ARR’s work with the BGM. I also felt that the Tamil version “Raavanan’ has come out better than the Hindi one “Raavan”

Kites

Slow moving, boring and predictable movie that can be watched for Hrithik Roshan/ Barbara Mori.  The only positives for me were the cinematography, the performance of the lead stars and the chemistry they shared on screen.

Slumdog Millionaire

The Golden Globe Awards and the Oscar nominations would certainly pull crowds to this well thought out and well made movie. Though the movie has many positives, I would love to watch it again just for the way the kids have gone about doing their roles. Just brilliant stuff! Young Jamal and Salim’s expressions in the first few minutes of the movie were just awesome! Not to take credits away from the rest of the cast who have played their roles very well too. 

A.R. Rahman’s music just rocks. Given the limited scope for BGMs in this movie and given the theme of the movie itself, I felt ARR has once again proved his mettle.  Starting with “O Saya” right at the beginning, the music just seems to uplift the movie and hold it high up right till the very end. I especially loved “Mausam” and “Latika’s theme” and the way they were placed in the movie. 

For some unknown reason,  I have been addicted to Latika’s theme ….. I was listening to it in the afternoon and have been listening to it ever since I came back from the movie. A simple but haunting track. Way to go ARR!

Margazhi Raagam

Imagine a concert in Chennai’s music season where

  • you prefer the last row to the first
  • the balcony ticket is costlier than the ticket for a seat in the main hall
  • the sound system is excellent
  • there are no MTC buses honking
  • there are no mamas/mamis shouting raga names the moment the singer starts singing
  • no one seems to bother carrying/refering to a raga identification guide
  • there is an intermission
  • (last but not the least) the venue has clean toilets

 

This is Margazhi Raagam for you (Official web site: Link). 

 

Positives:

  • Audio/video is of very good quality
  • Camera work is excellent
  • It is bound to appeal even to non-carnatic-concert-goers, going by the feedback from some of my friends who do not listen much to Indian Classical Music

 

A few things that I thought could have been better:

  • The intermission could have been done away with or else some carnatic audio could have been played. Instead, some pop music was played followed by ads of TV shows and what not. In Arar Asaippadar’s screening at the same Sathyam Cinemas (Chennai), Sanjay’s music was played before the movie began and during the interval which had a very good effect. 
  • The taniavartanam could have been shot better. For instance, both sides of the mrudangam could have been shown with the split screen effect. The tani also seemed to appear all of a sudden as if it was a disjoint piece force-fit to the song it was played for. But people did recognize the tani, for many of them got up and left the hall promptly, as they do in regular concerts ;-)
  • Personally, I would have loved a more traditional kutcheri-ish stage and backdrop than the panels lit in blue with curtains dropping from the top. (The presence of smoke would have given it the effect of a Kollywood movie dream scene ;-) )
  • Volume for khanjira could have been higher. 
  • I would personally have preferred them record a live concert with the audience present, especially to capture the on-stage interactions between the musicians more completely. The on-screen personas of a few musicians were totally different from their on-stage ones. Some just seemed to be too concious of the camera.

 

PS: I loved the music on offer, especially the RTP

A Wednesday

Bollywood is on a roll! Four good movies released in the span of last 3 weeks – all with different themes. The latest addition to this list is “A Wednesday” – an engrossing, neatly made and well paced movie that kept me glued to my seat throughout. After a long time, Anupam Kher and Naseeruddin Shah seemed to have got roles that did justice to their capabilities. Jimmy Shergill and Aamir Bashir played their parts very well. A very impressive directorial debut by Neeraj Pandey!

Rock On

“Live your dream” shouts Rock On and everything about it rocks! Cinematography is top class. The songs and BGM are just fantastic and fit in the movie so well. Direction is too good … how many directors can manage to make such a brilliant movie with a story line that even a kid with a little exposure to Bollywood movies would be able to predict!

Hindi cinema has arrived!