Dunkirk

FeaturedDunkirk

I have such weird mixed feelings about this film that I was almost bailing out, but since I haven’t updated anything in a long long time I must go ahead.
Firstly, life has been chaotic. In a positive way, hopefully. Apologies for being MIA.

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Okay.. Dunkirk. Um.. to be honest, I’m not a Nolan worshipper. I have nothing against him, I mean I’m not a blind-mindblown-obsessive-Nolan-fan like most people I know. So my take is going to be fair. Subjective, but fair. I have really liked his previous work but I’m not one of those who’d wait to go watch his films FDFS in IMAX 2D ONLY. You get the gist.

The battle of Dunkirk was an evacuation war fought mainly between France and England against Nazi Germany. The entire film is based in the 1940s focusing on this evacuation process through the sea.

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What follows are some thrilling moments of fear, love and deep angst. Brothers willing to go to any extent for survival. One’ll get to witness some intensely gripping war tactics. Fighter planes, sinking ships, men lost – all in the name of war!

Nolan’s films are known for their larger than life cinematic visuals. This one too doesn’t fail to captivate all of one’s senses.  d4

Background score by Hans Zimmer was hands down the best thing about this film!
The film does get slow in places but remains engaging none the less.
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The beauty of the film is its subtle non-linear narrative, which keeps one asking for more.

Not one of his strongest but I’m glad I know now about the glorious Battle of Dunkirk.

Dunkirk on IMDB

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Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)

I’ve been awful at keeping up with this blog. Honestly, I got lazy and busy and various other things happened. But I’m back now and I’m going to be consistent. Ive watched a lot of shows while I was away, but I’ll do an elaborate post on them later.

For now let’s talk about the film that got me here. I’ve heard people rave about this film since it won 4 GOLDEN GLOBES! Needless to say I had high expectations from this film with an unusual title.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is a period film about a mother who takes up matters in her hands when the local police at Ebbing, Missouri fail to investigate her daughter’s ‘rape while murder’ case.  From the very first scene, the narrative holds you so tight, it feels like you’re a part of it.  Screen Shot 2018-01-13 at 11.23.49 AM

Mildred, a church hating nihilist, mother of Angela, the victim, is a strong willed woman who is determined to seek justice. Frances McDormand who playes her has done a fabulous job, for the lack of a better word. She deserves many more awards!

Sam Rockwell plays Dixon, a ‘nigger-hater’ cop highly influenced by his mom’s not very helpful advices. Dixon was one of my favourite characters because his graph is endearing to watch. But THE most favourite character would remain Willoughby played by Woody Harrelson.

Willoughby is the chief officer at Ebbing who has his own reasons why he cant find a suspect as yet.

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The desperation takes Midred to extents one can’t see coming. Her family is dusfunctional and yet it is all so perfect. There’s a little bit of Peter Dinklage in there too!

If you dissect the storyline, it is quite simple and linear and that’s why I loved it and that’s why I won’t dissect it.

Watch it for the ace performances by everyone! Rarely, in a film this happens that every single performance shines out. There’s tad bit of humor, razor sharp dialogue writing and heart-wrenching moments. You’ll remember this, it won’t change your life or anything, but it’ll feel good.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri  on IMDB

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MAMI 2017 – LIST OF FILMS I WATCHED

MAMI 2017 – LIST OF FILMS I WATCHED

I’ve had a super tied up week, I’ve shifted to the other end of the city, Diwali preps were on my head (mom is over-enthu), then there’s work ANNDDD my favourite annual festival MAMI. Unfortunately this year I couldn’t catch films everyday. But I made up for the loss, over the weekend. Watched around 10 films over Saturday and Sunday and tried catching one movie per day, on weekdays. I’ll quickly leave their names here and what I thought of them in brief.

Remember, irrespective of  taste and preference movies deserve to be watched and judged only and only by the one who has watched it. As I always say movie-watching is an intimate and highly subjective affair. You know best what you’ll end up liking, but here are all the films I watched in order of my preference, from the least to most favourite.

 

The Hungry – Campy, OTT and a waste of some brilliant actors.

Kaccha Limbu – Based on a Marathi novel, it’s a good attempt but again extremely exxagerated performances and story-telling.

Sweet Country – Period Western film. Great plot but excruciatingly slow.

The Square – A satirical comment on how the elitist see the poor, in a bizarre humorous manner. But it fell apart pretty soon after setting up a kick-ass premise.

I Am Not a Witch – A satirical take on superstitions. It’s layered with dark humor, some might like it more than me.

Thelma – A unique concept about a girl coming to terms with her sexuality, faith and much more. Started out differently and took a different turn but very gripping none the less.

Most Beautiful Island – Ana Asensio wrote, directed and acted in this film about the struggles of an immigrant in the States. It was nerve-wrecking and nail-biting in parts, I wish she had indulged more once the suspense is revealed. Should be watched though.

It Comes at Night – Gripping. Thrilling. Scary. I’m a sucker for horrors and thrillers so I’m being a little biased.

Killing Ground – I loved the non-linear narrative. A good thriller. Cold yet satisfying.

Ask the Sexpert  – This one was a special experience because this was the only docu I was able to catch and Dr. Mahindra Vatsa came in after the film for a QnA.
It’s a brilliantly made documentary over 4 years, it’s hilarious and shows both sides of the argument thoroughly.

Redoubtable – Listen! A film about Godard with Woody Allen-ish treatment, who’d wanna miss it? It’s satirical, humorous and gives so much insight into the person that Godard was. One of the most entertaining films I watched.

Loveless – Piercing. A beautiful story about a bickering couple who team up to find their missing child. Through long shots and longer pauses, I was forced to feel the pain of separation. Don’t wanna give away much, but you must watch this one.

Mother!  – What the fuck did I just watch!? Aronofsky makes Black Swan look like child’s play in front of this one. Please watch, your mind will be blown.

April’s Daughters – Extremely unsettling and bizarrely entertaining, this one’s one twisted story. It’s my fourth favourite film for a reason!

Bad Lucky Goat – This one has a very simple narrative and a sweet plot line. Maybe because I’d say stories like these, I loved it so much. There’s beauty in simplicity and Bad Lucky Goat is a beautiful film.

The Florida Project – Sean Baker’s film-making journey all the way till this film is heart-warming. Read up if you can. Florida Project has the most endearing characters that break stereotypes and urge you to look deeper into the part of the society that we judge way too easily. It’s a heart-warming story of a badass mother-daughter duo.

Last Flag Flying – Yes! I’m a huge Linklater fan. No, I’m not partial towards this film because of him. Last Flag Flying has some brilliant performances, a simple yet gripping story line and mind-blowing scenes and dialogue. From politics, to race to alcohol to virginity, you name it and it’s been discussed in the most entertaining manner in the film. What a delight!

 

So these are my most and least favourite movies. If you read up on them you’ll know that some of the ones I didn’t like much are critically acclaimed or have high ratings, so don’t really go by my judgement. I have biases towards human everyday stories so I end up enjoying them more. But I hope you do try and catch atleast a few from these. How I’d love to hear from you!

P.S: I finished Mindhunter today and I won’t be exaggerating if I told you it’s my most favourite show, in a long long time.

 

 

Jab Harry Met Sejal (2017)

Jab Harry Met Sejal (2017)

Nothing works!

Nothing. Not SRK’s arousing looks, (yup still manages to make me swoon) not Imtiaz Ali’s desperate attempt at handling mature love, not Anushka Sharma’s accent.

It’s really tough for me to say this because the man has given us Love Aaj Kal, Jab We Met, Socha Na Tha, Tamasha, Highway and Rockstar (I liked it).
So WHY, WHAT didn’t make it work?
Was it the absence of AR Rahman’s magic? Maybe not.. the songs were decent. Way toooo many, but bearable.
Was it then, star power? Bigger the star, more the interference in the writer’s vision of telling the story?
I can’t reason.

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Character motivations are vaguely defined because of which I couldn’t gauge why Harry was so frustrated with all that pent up anger? He’s lonely, he says, and keeps thinking of Punjab. For the longest I thought there was a back story there. Harry drowns the loneliness and cynicism in women and strip clubs. He’s bruised and hurt, by what, we don’t know.
BUT WHAT IS SEJAL’S DEAL? Is she a bimbo, sly, smart, but dumb as per the writer’s convenience (She sees Harry cry.. sings an entire song with him.. then inquires ‘casually’ why he was crying.
CINEMATIC LIBERTY I GET IT!)

Sejal, who feels the excessive need to explain the meaning of her stereotypical gujju name, meets Harry, ‘a lost tour guide’ (ohohoho whattey pun) because she accidentally loses her engagement ring on the trip (where her entire fam and fiance Rupen were along with her). Rupen fights with her for losing the ring and let’s her stay back in Europe to look for the ring – there – established fiance is a dick. Okay.
BUT that isn’t good enough a reason for me to believe her asking Harry if he finds her ‘laayak’ (worthy), meaning, let’s just say it – is she fuckable, or is she ‘sister material’?
THE VERY FIRST NIGHT THEY MET WTF! hs4

But when he tells her that she isn’t like the ‘other girls’, she’s to be protected and taken care of. To which 90% of the country’s women and Sejal took offence – but obviously for completely opposite reasons.
Sejal wasn’t pissed coz Harry was being a sexist pig characterising women based on their personal choices, she was pissed coz he thinks she ain’t fuckable.

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TO WHICH, MY FAV – HE TAKES COUNTER OFFENCE COZ YEH LADKIYON KI PROBLEM KYA HAI, COMPLIMENT DO TOH BHI ATTITUDE DIKHAATI HAI..
And then starts a series of meaningless episodes of running away from goons (you guessed it right SEJAL CAUSED THE TROUBLE CUZ WOMAN WILL SHRIEK WHEN GOON YELLS AND GIVE AWAY HIDING PLACE.. COZ.. WOMAN), discussing some sweet-nothings in between and not taking hints from a tharki confessing his extremely tharki behavioural pattern.
I wonder if they were seeking to be killed by goons.

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They go on some more random ring-hunting trips, meet more comical goons, get outta situations like pros coz SRK BRO, and eventually Sejal finds the ring in the most obvious place because – yup. Brews amidst all this a lusty love affair, with the awareness that once the ring is found she’s gotta go to badass Rupen to marry the fuck outta her arranged marriage. Got it. Umm but no!

Blurring the lines of fidelity can be justified, made to be felt for if tricky love is handled maturely. Gulzar did it in the 80s with Ijaazat. Imtiaz Ali has done it in the past, then why go so wrong this time? And I don’t mean it has to be serious and melancholic, watch the second season of Master Of None, a comedian did it so beautifully!

It hurts when SRK, who’s atleast trying to make different cinema (I mean Salman who doesn’t even try and gives hits) is failing at this back-to-back. It hurts when the man who gave us those iconic moments to be cherished writes superficial characters and pointless moments, and it hurts when an actress who talks so openly about gender bias in the industry can’t see through the casual sexism.

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If you must, watch it for SRK’s sexy midriff, Anushka’s glam looks, Safar and Europe.

JHMS on IMDB

Gangster (2006)

Gangster (2006)

The purpose or the objective of writing this blog was never to criticise, thrust my taste on the reader, or in any way preach about screen-writing. The reason, however, was to communicate my feelings for a piece of art with you who connect with my thoughts and sometimes initiate a conversation.
Film watching is such a personal experience. It’s so pure and impactful, if you let it control your senses. It’s almost like praying. A good film devours your conscience and makes it its. It leaves behind an impression on you, it makes one a more refined and intellectually aware soul. And hence, making a film is such a huge responsibility.

Last night, was one such mind-stimulating night. I was sleepless, restless and my joints ached. I laid in bed wondering what I wanted to do with my life, where I wanted it to go. And such existential questions. Through theseI reached a point where I questioned myself ‘WHY AM I SUCH A LOVER OF ANURAG BASU’S STORYTELLING?’
For the ones who know me, know I’m obsessed with Life.. In a Metro. That film changed my life! It changed me. It made me want to tell stories about love and loss, and so much more. But as I turned in bed ignoring the pain, I strained my forehead to think deeper and it occurred to me that I began looking out for Basu’s work almost after my favourite show on Zee, directed by him called ‘Koshish.. Ek Aasha’. Further racking of brains got me to ‘Gangster’. The only non-SRK film whose dialogue I knew by heart.
At the age of 14!
And so, I re-watched and reminisced Gangster!

You can stop reading now. This post may or may not get long, tedious and obsessive.

shSimran (Kangana) is lonely and suicidal. She hasn’t seen Daya (Shiney) , her soulmate who is a gangster in months. She trusts Akash (Emraan) and confines into him. Akash, a singer in a bar, claims to be in love with her. Daya returns begging for another chance. Madly in love with her, he can go to any extent to make her happy. What happens next affects these 3 lives abundantly and tragically.

I was 14 when I read the tagline of the film and it stayed with me – ‘She fell in love with him when she betrayed him.’

Gangster felt a little aged to me on my 7th or 8th watch after almost 6 years. Kangana was so raw and unkempt. She’s done a great deal for herself ever since.
But without being biased, I must admit that the emotions, the pain and the tears didn’t age. I was watching the film very objectively, at first trying to avoid my joint ache. But as the songs pulled me into their world of love and melancholy, I found myself yearning for Daya with Shruti. Understanding her selfish plight to want to have a peaceful family and her trust for Akash. And, I found myself hoping for her to protect Daya against all odds.

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It was the scene when Daya sends her a letter from prison telling her he understands why she did what she had to, and gives her some money and her passport to start afresh.
That selfless love, that fucking hurt!

Dialogue writing is poetic – trademark Basu. And the most obvious scenes like finding out one’s pregnant – the casual puking and realising – has been done with newness.
Make-up was campy in places, and Emraan was annoying in parts – some dialogues were too dramatic. But overall it didn’t feel like it’s been 11 years since Gangster released.  08sl3.jpg

Watch it on Amazon Prime, if you must.

P.S: Shiney Ahuja was the finest thing that had happened to Hindi Cinema, be it Metro, Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi or Gangster. Too bad whatever happened.

Gangster on IMDB

Hindi Medium (2017)

Hindi Medium (2017)

I had heard a lot of good things about the film. Of course, it has Irrfan, it has to be a smooth watch and Saba Qamar was my favorite actor, from that show on Zindagi called ‘Maat’. My mom and I used to obsess over it!
So when I watched the trailer I was excited to see her doing an Indian film. hm3.jpg

First, let me start with things that worked well, Deepak Dobriyal is so fine in the film, the only character who could move one. Irrfan’s comic timing lifts up the film to a significant level. Saba looks pretty and barring a few times she overacts, she’s decent to watch.

I can’t really get myself to reach a conclusion on whether I liked the film or detested it.
After discussing it at length, I came to understand that certain punches, or conflicts in a narrative take cinematic liberties (take us into a make believe world or exaggerate reality) but they’re limited to a few.
Or there are films/shows that create an alternate universe, or an exaggerated version of our universe. For eg: Sarabhai Vs Sarabhai has characters who are over the top judgemental, or naive, or silly respectively for the sole purpose of comic relief. I believe it when Maya Sarabhai starts insulting Monisha at the drop of a hat, because that’s the universe of the show.  hm1

What Hindi Medium does is the opposite. It tells you that our universe is actually exaggerated. The poor are kind and rich are evil. Ofcourse, they’ve used a lot of such instances for comic relief but with that they’ve jumbled up emotions ans drama as a ‘fact’ of life. Poor Deepak throws himself in front of a car to earn some bucks for his secretly rich friend Irrfan, coz poor people have big hearts.

Too much stereotyping and labeling happened by the end of the film. Saba’s character is so flawed. She literally uses her husband to get her way. She’s inconsiderate and selfish and has no arc, till somewhere in the end where the rich sponsor the poor coz they’ve seen poverty up close only to realise that paisa pairon ki dhool hai. 

If I keep aside how in your face the drama is in the film, I enjoyed Irrfan’s nonchalant personality. The kid is very cute. And some scenes are hilarious!
Don’t expect much and you’ll be entertained.

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Hindi Medium on IMDB

Birthday Blues

I’ve been awfully lazy, relatively busy (thankfully) and amidst all this binging on movies – here the worst part comes – I still haven’t updated my blog.  I apologise to me and you, and promise to be less lazy and more efficient this year.

This year?

I turned 25 on May 29th. I’m dreading my ’29 and 29th’. But I was also dreading my 25th. Mainly because like all of us do, I too began comparing my years of achievements with my age index. As if it’s a math solution, a tried and tested formula.
I was extremely low on the day, mainly because, I was older and felt the public gaze filled with expectations and disappointment stare right through my soul. My mother told me at my age she had had my sister, my friend’s mom told me that it’s high time to marry now. My boss told me that aww I’m still a baby. But it was I who told me things that affected the most.

I began pondering over how that 15 year old Sainee imagined a 25 year old Sainee to be.
She thought she’d be a super successful criminal psychologist (was obsessed with Maya Dolas) or a Vet , she’d be married to SRK (but in a platonic kinda way), she’d be loaded and would shop at the drop of a hat. She’d have boys all around her but she’d break their hearts instead of getting hers broken.

10 years since then, she grew up to understand that she wanted to write instead. She secretly loved acting but because the society judged one so heavily on their looks and body type, a then, overweight Sainee chose not to mention it.
She realised that money is a tough commodity to have and once you have it it’s tougher to let go. Plus, she isn’t a big fan of shopping.
And more often than not heartbreak isn’t in one’s control.

So to me and you, if you’re older and worried that you’re not wiser. If you ‘still’ hate your job, or ‘still’ don’t have one. If you’re ‘still’ acting stupid in your relationship and if you’re ‘still’ making up your mind whether or not you want that career option, or that dress or that piece of cake.

There is no such thing as a ‘still’. Because there’s no age limit and time limit to learn and grow and to suck and fail.

I’m going to promise myself on my 25th that I won’t compare my life with someone else’s. We’re all going through our own individual journeys and it’s silly to compare two completely parallel journeys with one another. Besides, who decides what achievement is the parameter of ‘achieving it all’. What’s that ‘all’ anyway?
The more we achieve, the more we want. I’m not asking to not want, I’m an overly ambitious girl too, but 25 isn’t too late, or too early. It’s just another year gone. Just time passing. *repeats to herself*

I’m going to run behind happiness and if my happiness is success, or lots of money or a rickshaw wallah not refusing to take me to my destination, I’ll have arrived!
One day at a time.

We’re all special. Despite of what the society says.
Hang in there and keep at it.

Age indeed is just a number.

 

 

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Moving on, here are the films I watched and you must too –

Angamaly Diaries (2017) (You’ll have the time and hunger pangs of your life)

Meri Pyaari Bindu (2017) (Hated and loved by equal people, I was in the latter group, ob)

A Death in the Gunj (2017) (It’ll leave you with a pit in the gut)

Chi Va Chi Sau Ka (2017) (Great scene writing.  Complete family entertainer!)