Movies to look out for this week

Raat Gayi Baat Gayi [IMDB]

Rahul wakes up with a bad hangover after a party where he had gotten really cozy with a sexy young woman. But he cant remember clearly exactly what happened ..

Cast: Rajat Kapoor, Vinay Pathak, Neha Dhupia

Direction: Saurabh Shukla

Accident on Hill Road [IMDB]

A thriller based on a supposed real-life incident about a woman who hit a man, then drove home and parked the car in her garage with the man wedged halfway through her windshield

Cast: Celina Jaitley, Farooq Shaikh, Abhimanyu Singh
Direction: Mahesh Nair

Bolo Raam

A boy, Raam, is charged with the murder of his mother but he seems to have become silent, refusing to talk. The investigating officer cant find any motive either ..

Cast: Om Puri, Rishi Bhutani, Govind Namdeo

Direction: Rakesh Chaturvedi

The Stepfather [IMDB]

Michael returns home from military school to find his mother living with her new boyfriend. As the two men get to know each other, he becomes more and more suspicious of the man who is always there with a helpful hand

Cast: Dylan Walsh, Penn Badgley, Sela Ward
Direction: Nelson McCormick

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By the time I finally managed to catch Avatar (yesterday), it seems the entire world has already seen it and everyone is … er …. raving about it, to put it mildly. So you have to pardon me if I went with sky-high expectations – and came back not too impressed.

Knowing very well that the storyline is not the reason why someone watches Avatar, I still cant help myself from commenting on the hackneyed script. Did they think no one else in the world has watched The Last Samurai or The Ant Bully or the numerous such movies ? All of them have the SAME plot – hero lives with a different species/race and he becomes one of them and fights his own people. Here the location is planet Pandora and the race is the Na’vi people of Pandora.
Even otherwise, the storyline is really predictable - you would run up pretty high numbers if you start counting movie clichés.

The visuals ofcourse, are breathtaking – colors and imagination have run riot on Pandora. The forests is magical with its glowing trees, lighted water and twirly winged lizards. The animals of Pandora are stylized versions of regular animals – the horse, the rhino, the dog – and the flying creatures resemble dragons (without the fire breath ofcourse). It’s a fascinating landscape with flying mountains, huge waterfalls and giant trees – James Cameron didn’t restrict himself when he was painting this landscape. The quality of the animation can be gauged from that fact that most of the times its impossible to tell that the human characters are animated.

However, while the computer generated imagery was pitch perfect, I didn’t find anything impressive about the 3D aspect. It didn’t add anything to the movie at all – I didn’t see any reason why the 2D wouldn’t have been equally fun to watch. But I have to qualify that I watched it at Movietime at The Hub – and their projector or glasses might have been the culprit. Its not the best of theatres Bombay has to offer

Avatar is definitely a major technical achievement and visually marvellous. Great cinema it is not. So whether to watch it or not? I think I am going to discount my less-than-stellar-3D experience and recommend a watch. Hopefully your 3D experience will be better than mine

3 star

(I think I should also mention that The Hub is the only place I have seen where you have to BUY paper 3D glasses for Rs. 30 each to watch the movie – in addition to your ticket price ! The tickets were pricey as it is – and usually 3D glasses are given for a deposit or included in the ticket price. Needless to say, I will be trying to avoid this place if possible

While we are on the subject of rants against multiplexes, I want to talk about my experience as a really avid cinephile in Bombay. Fame Cinemas and Cinemax are the best I have encountered so far. Their ticket booking system are more robust – I have probably had zero or maybe one failure so far in 3 years. And I book 95% of my movies online. The other reason I like them is that they were the first to jump on the mobile booking bandwagon more than 2 years back. Fame is on ngpay and Cinemax has its own mobile application. Movies start within 10 minutes of schedule time and there never has been any technical glitches that I recall.

PVR has the newest and posh multiplexes in Bombay, because of its locations at Juhu and Phoenix Mills. Seating etc is best among all the multiplexes but unfortunately their ticketing system is the worst. Can you believe it that their website itself would work on Firefox (anything apart from IE) till 4 months back ? Forget booking tickets – just the homepage wouldn’t open ! The online ticketing system is hopelessly fragile. I would say atleast 30-40% of my bookings with PVR fail the first time – and I have to redo them. This weekend was the limit though - I tried booking a 3 Idiots show 4 times – and failed – money being charged to me everytime !
(Btw, yesterday I called the customer support and then wrote a scathing email to their Head, Customer Support. He called back offering to book the tickets himself, but I had already booked tickets elsewhere)

Fun Cinemas, is at the bottom of my multiplex list despite having a robust ticketing system and being one of the pioneers on ngpay. Its just a horribly managed cinema – movies never start on time, there have been inordinate delays at random moments – including a 30 minute intermission once and a 20 minute projector breakdown one other time. And once this summer, they even turned off the AC in the lobby citing cost-cutting as a reason. This and numerous other reasons make it absolutely the multiplex to avoid. Unfortunately, it is the the only multiplex screening English movies at late night or running some foreign movies – which make it unavoidable at times.

INOX I have hardly used once or twice and don’t have any comments)

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3 Idiots

Rajkumar Hirani seems to have perfected the art of making cinema that is completely commercial and intensely enjoyable – yet delivers a preachy message with it. Like in Munnabhai series, Hirani chooses not to mask his message – but sugarcoat it with some funny and some heart-warming moments. Enough to coax our cynical hats off and get us cheering for the good guys.

Although the story is said to have been based on Chetan Bhagat’s Five Point Someone, the plot has been completely reworked and except for setting of three students at IIT, an anally-retentive professor and his independent daughter, most of the story is new.
(In the movie, the college isnt called IIT, but Imperial College of Engineering).

All of us are probably a little sceptical about how two 30-plus and one 40-plus guy are going to play 3 college students – but such is Hirani’s craft, 5 minutes into the movie, you aren’t bothered about the age of its protagonists. The hostel atmosphere is established effectively by MM – who endearingly introduces a litter of puppies as kilobyte, megabyte and the mother as Gigabyte. The camaraderie between the three leads – Aamir, Madhavan & Sharman Joshi - is very believable, but in acting, they are more than matched by newcomer Omi.
(I did find shades of Golmaal in Sharman’s portrayal – in both the movies, he is the reluctant partner-in-crime)

There are innumerable points in the first half where you cant control hysterical laughter – especially the Teacher’s day speech. The second half becomes a little more emotional, especially the intermission point, which introduces the most significant difference between the book and the movie. Its here that you appreciate the director’s decision to go with seasoned actors. Because there are scenes in the movie which newcomers would have fluffed up – but Aamir, Sharman and Madhavan carry them off with aplomb.

Kareena has a really just a bit role in the movie – and two songs. But she is her vivacious self in her scenes and perks up the proceedings. Boman Irani plays the Dean of the college, with a more exaggerated accent & hairdo than J.Asthana of Munnabhai. And he delivers flawlessly - this kind of role has become his identity by now. Newcomer Omi does a fabulous job playing Chatur, the NRI Tamilian who is determined to become the number 1 by hook or crook.

Even though 3 Idiots is a critique on our current education system, the story of three friends overshadows the message completely. The only complaint some non-hostelers might have will be about the abundance of underwear show – but anyone who has stayed in a hostel will understand. It’s a complete entertainer, which will have you laugh as well as cry with the three idiots. It’s a great end to 2009 from Bollywood and something you shouldn’t miss.

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Movies to look out for this week

3 Idiots [IMDB]

5 Years after passing out of engineering, two friends start on a journey to meet their maverick classmate

Cast: Aamir Khan, Sharman Joshi, Madhavan, Kareena Kapoor

Direction: Rajkumar Hirani Read More!

Movies to look out for this week

Avatar [IMDB]

In the future, Jake, a paraplegic war veteran, is brought to another planet, Pandora, which is inhabited by the Na'vi, a humanoid race with their own language and culture. And the stage is set for a showdown

Cast: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana
Direction: James Cameron

(I am dying to watch Avatar, but going out for the weekend, so review will be up only sometime next week)

World Cupp 2011

Yet another story on the about an unholy relation between the underworld and the cricketers.

Cast: Ravi Kapoor, Zakir Hussain, Suresh Oberoi

Direction: Ravi Kapoor Read More!

Rocket Singh : Salesman of the Year

The creative team behind Chak De India has delivered another … well … another Chak De India, for lack of a better description ! A non-glamour movie, rooted in reality and earnest as hell – only to have an idealistic & highly improbable ending !!

The simplicity of the visuals is refreshing – the utter lack of polish and style that one associates with Yash Raj productions catches your attention from the word go. There is not a single song picturised in the movie – only a couple of background tracks that do not stand out or distract in anyway. There are two leading ladies but no romance – love is not what this movie is about. What you get in the movie is an inside view of a salesperson’s world - its intense competition, disregard for the consumer, focus on numbers and targets – and the dry humour. How an office party consists of music played on windows media player and whiskey mixed with water at the office water dispenser. And how a loose connection on the motherboard is labelled as a replacement and charged Rs 5,000.

(The story has already been splashed across everywhere – with almost the entire plot unravelled - which I believe was a big disservice to the movie)
Ranbir Kapoor plays Harpreet Singh Bedi, a fresh B.Com graduate with persuasive skills and no academic ambitions to speak of – he graduated with just 39% marks. But he knows whats good for him – sales - and soon bags a job at a computer manufacturing company AYS, as a trainee salesman.

However, the world of sales turns out quite different from his expectations and sticking to principles leads him to a lot of humiliation and ridicule.
How he perseveres in this world without letting go of his ideals is the story to watch

The salesteam leader Nitin gives a great field introduction to the new trainee. With a hint of Roadies’ Raghu in his appearance and a whiplashing tongue, he is played excellently by Naveen Kaushik. Similar praises have to be heaped on Prem Chopra as Harpreet’s doting grandfather and Gauhar Khan as the cynical but ambitious receptionist. Porn-watching tech-support D. Santosh rounds off the excellent cast. Their performance makes you neglect the slightly slow pace of the movie. Newcomer Shazahn Padamsee has almost no role to play though – comes across as a bit of an air-head.

But Ranbir Kapoor cannot be praised enough for his acting skills. While he has performed admirably in collegian and happy-go-lucky roles before, Rocket Singh shows that he is superlative and complete natural in front of the camera in all kind of roles. He is definitely the most exciting actor to have come out of Bollywood since Abhay Deol.

Director Jaideep Sahni continues on his excellent form from Chak De India – but cant deliver an ending as strong as the rest of the movie. Like Chak De India’s over-dramatic ending, Rocket Singh ends up with a over-idealistic climax – which is the setback in what is otherwise a superb movie. But even with this blemish, Rocket Singh is a highly recommended watch for its fresh approach, honest storytelling and superb acting all around.

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Movies to look out for this week

Rocket Singh : Salesman of the Year [IMDB]

Story of a fresh graduate trying to find a balance between the maddening demands of the 'professional' way, and the way of his heart

Cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Shazahn Padamsee, Gauhar Khan

Direction: Shimit Amin

The Twilight Saga : New Moon [IMDB]

Based on the Twilight book series. After Bella recovers from the vampire attack that almost claimed her life, she looks to celebrate her birthday with Edward and his family.

Cast: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson

Direction: Chris Weitz Read More!


I watched the movie on Friday and I have had a couple of days to think over it while I was out of town. And I just don’t see what the hullabaloo about Paa is !!

Paa (like Taare Zameen Par) has been almost universally acclaimed by critics and all actors, especially Amitabh Bachhan, have been praised to the skies. There is talk of even making it India’s official entry to Oscars !! Yet, if you read those reviews, none of the reviews rate the movie at more than 3.5 stars. Whereas Taare Zameen Par was rated by most people at 4 or above. (Please note that Paa is nowhere similar to Taare Zameen Par, but it was the only movie I could think of which got such universal accolades.)

I think people have gotten a little too hyper at Amitabh Bachhan’s portrayal of a 12 year old. Make no mistake, it’s a great effort and not once through the movie do you get the feeling that there is Amitabh inside Auro. The voice is nasal-cartoony (the closest is drunk Anthony Gonzalves of Amar Akbar Anthony) and make up is top-notch ! But I think this was more an exercise in adulation – because I didn’t quite get convinced that Auro was an actual kid. There were far too many inconsistencies in the portrayal – both physically as well as in dialogues – to believe that it was a genuine 12-year-old.

The story is not much of a secret, but if you don’t know yet – Auro is a 12-year-old boy suffering from an extremely rare genetic defect called Progeria, which causes accelerated ageing of the body. So he resembles an old man in his seventies while he is still a child inside. Such children usually do not live too long. He is happy in school where his classmates are very supportive – and lives with his gynaecologist mum Vidya Balan and granny, who he calls Bum !

His sheltered life goes topsy turvy when he wins a creativity award and is noticed by upcoming idealist politician Amol Apte. Soon they become friends but they are unaware of their actual relation – that of Paa and son. The secret is revealed in a flashback, but how Auro and Amol come to know about it and what happens next is the movie.

The side-plots of slum redevelopment politics and the political fighting between Amol and his rival are actually interesting – they provide a break from the emotional drama and are also relevant to our times. The news bashing ofcourse, was a little overdone, but then again, our news channels haven’t been exactly blemish free. Abhishek Bachhan suits the intense young politician role totally – and seems to have modelled his appearance on Milind Deora, the south Mumbai MP.

The movie starts off with everyday scenes of Auro's life, his limitations of food and physical activity and bowel failures. Vidya Balan is very good as Auro’s mother – and she has more meaningful scenes with Auro than Abhishek - and Arundhati Naag is superb as the grandma used to the antics of her naughty grandson. Amitabh, as I have explained – puts in a great effort, but in vain. He didn’t convince me that there is a child inside Auro – even with his monkey dance and other antics. And without that, there is no movie.

It would have been a better movie if an actual kid had played Auro rather than Amitabh. Because the rest of the casting is pitch perfect. The climax is a little tacky and needs to be improved though, but to be fair to the director, he doesn’t go for needless tear-jerker scenes otherwise.

Although I didn’t get impressed by the movie, its not an opinion shared widely. So I would recommend you watch the movie and decide if it works for you.

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Most of you probably would never consider watching a Himesh movie. But if you decide to, I would suggest you give Radio a try. Not because he has really improved as an actor – he isn’t anywhere close. But this movie is overall entertaining, its completely set in young sensibilities (coffee, facebook etc) and is in a way pleasing on the eyes (the two leading ladies ofcourse)

Debutant director Ishaan Trivedi has a lot of ideas, but he hasn’t got the execution down to a pat yet. The story he narrates is very in our times – a young couple divorced but still friends, attraction towards someone at work and commitment issues. He chooses to go with chapter-wise screenplay (reminiscent of Pyar Ke Side Effects) and goes back-and-forth a couple of times – which is part of why the movie appears refreshing. Non linear timelines or chapter-wise narration aren’t new things – but are pleasantly executed in Radio. Especially check the chapter names.

But the main reason you should watch Radio is our man Himesh Reshammiya. While he isn’t dancing or judo-kicking villains this time, he has some of the funniest one-liners of the year. Delivered seriously, ofcourse. So, while the movie for the most part, is very sorted out, few of his dialogues that are so incredible cheesy and banal that you cant help but burst out laughing. It’s a case of so-bad-its-good, but only for certain one-liners. It helps keeps the mood cheery through the movie. If the director wasn’t a debutant, I might have even considered it was a deliberate ploy.

The leading ladies – Shenaz and newcomer Sonal Sehgal – do their job well. Come to think of it, doing well against Himesh shouldn’t be that much hard work, but hey they suit the roles. Shenaz is perfect in the role of vivacious RJ Shanaya, and Sonal does reasonably as the somewhat immature Pooja. Have to put in a word of praise for the stylist – all the three leads look very trendy and smart, without trying too hard to be cool and casual. Same applies to the workplace – its what you would expect a radio station to be. Believable.

Then there is Paresh Rawal in the role of Jhandu Lal, a bakra caller. He has a couple of random scenes but they are all good fun – all calls ending with “saale #%^&@*” !!

If the same movie had been made with better actor/s, it would probably have been a good romantic movie. The idea and execution is refreshing & realistic – and music is one of Himesh’s better works. The storyline is not without its faults – and the parents are over-the-top – but like Wake Up Sid, the freshness of it all makes you overlook those niggles. Himesh provides the not-intended comic effect – and frankly I liked the movie as it is. There, I said it. I would recommend you check Radio out and make your own opinion.

3 star
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Movies to look out for this week

Paa [IMDB]

A politician's relationship with his unusually developed son - the child suffers from a disease that causes him to age rapidly, rendering him an old man

Cast: Abhishek Bachhan, Amitabh Bachhan, Vidya Balan,

Direction: R. Balki


A recently divorced RJ gets attracted towards his new colleague. But he is also friends with his ex-wife. Its complicated

Cast: Himesh Reshammiya, Shenaz Treasurywala, Sonal Sehgal
Direction: Ishan Trivedi

Tinker Bell & the Lost Treasure [IMDB]

Tinker Bell journey far North of Never Land to patch things up with her friend Terence and restore a Pixie Dust Tree.

Cast: Lucy Liu (voice), Mae Whitman (voice)

Direction: Klay Hall

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