Moonlight (2016)

Moonlight (2016)

Divided in three chapters, Moonlight portrays the internal and external struggle of an African-American man living in Miami, through different stages. Chiron goes by the name of ‘Little’ when he’s young mainly because of his lanky body and low self-esteem. Conflicted and lost within he finds comfort in Jaun played by Mahershala Ali who is a drug dealer. Chiron is stuck between his addict mother and his bully classmates.
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With every step, every moment spent quietly in the bath-tub, every word he chooses not to speak; one can feel the pit in his stomach. All the 3 actors who play this character have picked it up right where the previous one left. He grows up a lost and scared teenager. With no friends except Theresa to talk to, who is disliked by his own mother.
In Chp 3, Chiron or Black, is a drug dealer who’s heart is still back home where he left it last. 

mv5bzmy3y2zimwqtzdhlmy00nmzjltgyowmtmzqxm2uzztnkmzlll2ltywdlxkeyxkfqcgdeqxvyndgwndg1nzq-_v1_ql50_sy1000_sx1600_al_What stayed with me post watching this film was the kindness with which Chiron’s sexuality is handled by Director Barry Jenkins and writers Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney. The film gets slow at some points, sometimes too slow but it picks up efficiently.
Dialogue writing works wonders! There are some extremely innocent and hard-hitting scenes, my favourite is the one where Chiron and his friend Kevin have a moment sitting on the beach smoking a J, slowly allowing each other to open up, knowing deep down that being gay is mocked by their neighbourhood but giving in despite of all that. mv5bodayzdg4zwitn2q1mi00mmiyltk4zdytyzbknmflngm2nzexl2ltywdlxkeyxkfqcgdeqxvyndgwndg1nzq-_v1_ql50_sy1000_sx1600_al_

Chiron builds himself from scratch to fit in. But his heart belongs elsewhere. My heart melted when he so vulnerably confesses to Kevin that he’s never touched another man. His longing, his pain, his journey is so touching and genuine. Not a moment felt disconnected or forced.

Moonlight has been nominated for 8 Oscars and I’m totally hoping that Naomie Harris gets one for her effortless performance. 

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So here’s a confession (I’m not homophobic) –

Last year was an overdose of LGBT movies with (wonderful) films like Carol, Pride, Danish Girl, Aligarh, Tangerine, Girlhood, Don’t Call Me Son etc, one needed a change. But Moonlight felt so different. Love here is treated like love, barring all societal permissions. It felt unadulterated and it didn’t need any justification or upliftment. It needed only self-approval.
Apart from dealing with one’s sexuality, Moonlight also touches sensitive layers of mental health, brittle self-esteem and depression.

Take out time and watch Moonlight. Savour it. Slowly.

Moonlight on IMDB

Raees (2017)

Raees (2017)

This is the first time that I read a number of reviews before posting my opinion here. Majorly because I really liked the film, and I wanted to know if there were any valid points to make me dislike the film. Let me assure you, there aren’t any.
Firstly, anyone who hasn’t written a feature length script, or gone through the challenges of directing and producing a film, keeping in mind all the possible hindrances that come along the way, one – however reliable, shouldn’t hold any weight-age in our minds when we’re deciding whether or not to go watch a film.

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Let me begin by saying, Raees isn’t a perfect film but it is a good film.  It even gets very good in parts. But you don’t have to believe me either. Believe yourself by watching it!
I personally hate it when people thrust their opinions on others and ask others to ‘not watch a movie’ because ‘they didn’t like it’. Movie watching is subjective, so don’t let any critic play you. Please.

I, unfortunately missed the first 5 mins of the film which was a flashback into Raees’s childhood. When I saw Raees all grown up, I saw this Gujju-Mumv5bzjlmy2q1mdetytfjmc00zdmwlwi5njetm2qxzjg1zjkxndlll2ltywdll2ltywdlxkeyxkfqcgdeqxvynjq2mjq5nzm-_v1_ql50_sy1000_cr005571000_al_slim bootlegger who is hungry to make it big in Gujarat. SRK (after long) has delivered a fine, fine performance. He’s scary and sexy, all at once.
There are debates on whether he being a negative character should be glamorised and called the ‘hero’. I read them all and then tossed them into a bin. Life was simpler when Baazigar and Darr released. We watched a wicked Vicky Malhotra throw his girlfriend off a roof and still wished he got justice for his dead father. Why? Because it is a god damn film. It’s entertaining because it is supposed to entertain.

mv5bzgy3ztqxy2yty2qxys00ymzmlwi1mdmtmjgzoti1ywqwmgy1l2ltywdlxkeyxkfqcgdeqxvyndk1nzkzotc-_v1_ql50_sy1000_cr005461000_al_If you have a problem with the many songs in Raees then go watch world cinema.
Yes, Raees could’ve been very different, perhaps more intense and less campy but I can’t deny that I also was thoroughly entertained watching Sunny Leone do a Shimmi.
If we had to see a mundane or morose story, we’d peep into our own lives. Why’d we spend our hard earned money if we can’t feel larger than life? mv5bogjizwu2ndqtzgrkni00m2ixltkxzjgtm2u2zja0ytm0zgi5l2ltywdll2ltywdlxkeyxkfqcgdeqxvymjm1njkwmdi-_v1_ql50_

Mahira Khan is cute and acts only when needed.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui is fire! He surrounds and captivates like no other. His entry scene is the best that has been written. He isn’t there a lot but when he is, he owns the scene. He’s playing a workaholic, rigid, unintentionally hilarious cop who is at loggerheads with Raees.
Raees, played by Shah Rukh Khan is a fearless bootlegger who believes (and explains dramatically) that no work is big or small as long as you don’t hurt others. He goes on doing his illegal business of selling alcohol to Gujarat (which his moral metre doesn’t call ‘hurting people’), he hurts the bad guys aka whoever comes in his way (but only in self defence.)
He jumps over terraces, climbs up lampposts and even though he’s such a big guy, he prefers catching them traitors all by himself. Why not! Raees is an extra-ordinary man living in ordinary circumstances. Now, although the chase sequences were way too many and unnecessary and the songs were boring (except Laila) the film wavered and yet held itself together because of a strong base. Which brings me to the writers. mv5bngvmotg1mmetotqxmc00nwuzltgwy2etnmuxmjizmdblnmvkl2ltywdll2ltywdlxkeyxkfqcgdeqxvymjm1njkwmdi-_v1_ql50_

Now, I am nobody to comment specifically, but studying and writing my own has taught me a bit about writing scenes, dialogue, character building etc. I can now unfortunately catch certain writing issues. I say ‘unfortunately’ because I would’ve loved a lot more movies to a greater extent had these things not played in my head.

Robert Mckee, in his screen-writing book ‘Story’ has mentioned the skill of using objects to add subtext to the narrative. More the subtext, more the connection and better the film!
Raees got me there. Rahul DholakiaHarit MehtaNiraj Shukla and Ashish Vashi have used objects from a match-box to a carom board to a kite to even spectacles – for the impact!
It wasn’t the story but the scene writing that elevated the narrative for me.
If I had to nitpick, the background score that gushed in each time after Raees said a whistle-worthy dialogue got a bit annoying. But somehow on exactly those moments the entire theatre clapped and hooted for that man, and just like that I too joined them.
Let a movie devour you, with its shortcomings. Unless, it is as unbearable as Hamari Adhuri Kahaani , then walk out. mv5bytdmmwm3otqtmwi5yy00ytm1ltlmzditmwixzjyznzy1yjqyl2ltywdll2ltywdlxkeyxkfqcgdeqxvymjm1njkwmdi-_v1_ql50_

Raees  is a good attempt at a decent film.Watch it for flawless Nawaz, for the ‘actor’ SRK, for some big actors doing cameos, and for the beautifully captured Gujarat.

Raees on IMDB

xXx: Return of Xander Cage (2016)

xXx: Return of Xander Cage (2016)

I’ve been unwell on and off for the past 3 months. I brought in the new year with a chronic stomach infection because of which I couldn’t savour any of those fancy dishes my friends and family were hogging over. I was hoping to get better in 2017 but in the first month itself my health got worse. I had severe pain in my right kidney and I was admitted in a hospital. The infection had reached my kidney. The treatment is still on, but after a week I was discharged. This was day before. All I could think of on the hospital bed was all the films that have released while I’m stuck in here. The first chance I got, I went and watched a film. It had to be xXx because – Deepika Padukone.
I cannot ruin my OK Kanmani experience by watching OK Jaanu and I had watched Haraamkhor a year back at MAMI.  mv5bzgmwogmymtgtzjdhms00ndg4ltgxyzitmdcwzwfhmtrmzwywl2ltywdll2ltywdlxkeyxkfqcgdeqxvynza1njy5mtu-_v1_ql50_

Covered in a big fat hoodie I sat in a theatre atPVR Lower Parel eagerly waiting for Deepika Padukone’s grand Hollywood debut. She did create magic when she came onscreen but there were only few such instances. The entire film rode on Vin Diesel’s deserving shoulders.
Also, the thing I realised (not being anti-national) while watching the film is that Indians are in majority average looking. I’m smitten by Deepika, precisely because there are very few women as perfect in every aspect as her, but suddenly in Hollywood every other person’s drop dead gorgeous. I mean Ruby Rose is equally hot! So kudos to Deepika for still looking so irresistible. She’s throwing knives and kicking butts, all while being a seductress. She’s kept her Indian accent intact and hasn’t forced any Videsipan on herself, which is commendable. But there’s nothing more to her character. mv5bymnmndaxmtetnmrjmi00ytm5lwi1mzitytrlyzgynzfjoguzxkeyxkfqcgdeqxvynji0mjk2mtu-_v1_ql50_
She’s Vin Diesel’s love interest but she never takes decisions. If her character didn’t exist, the film would go on as is. 

Vin Diesel did a fine job! He’s cute and charming and ferocious all at once. The action scenes aren’t too monotonous or repetitive and they didn’t feel too draggy.

Same old, group of heroes save the day – insider is the culprit – find and defeat insider – save the world while you’re at it – lose a few good men – get the girl.
There’s nothing new to this story but it was done in style.

It’s a good Sunday afternoon chill scene at home.

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I really really hope Deepika bags something better for her Hollywood dreams to work out!

xXx: Return of Xander Cage on IMDB

शाळा (2011)

शाळा (2011)

The magic that a film with children as the protagonists can create, no other can! Shala starts off on an extremely light note. Indulging wholeheartedly into the deepest nuances of childhood, specially childhood in the fahqdefaultce of poverty. But Shala doesn’t talk about the miseries of rural kids, instead it takes us into that world without screaming right into our faces. Instantly, I’m Joshi and I’m Mhatre and I’m rooting for them to confess their love to their school crush, or as they call it – line.

 

Set in the 70s, Shala doesn’t stop right here, it touches some deeper societal issues – protests, child abuse, name calling because a girl chooses to live like a boy, child-beating and the western influence on rural India. shala-2011-xvid-mp3-1-cd-dvdrip-mdg-exclusives-avi_003797582.jpg

Some of the teachers reminded me of mine. Specially the English teacher.
There are some beautiful romantic moments between Joshi and his girlfriend.
Although, the plagiarised background score (This) distracted me, but the moments and the intentions were at the right place.  Milind Bokil and Avinash Deshpande have written some hilarious dialogue. I loved Mhatre – the loyal friend. 254254_10150196816460904_108029570903_7299458_7180475_n

Now, let’s talk about what didn’t work for me –

The forced 70’s look definitely didn’t work. And what didn’t work at all were the last twenty minutes! The film took a dip. Unexplained scenarios, lots of open-ended -read between the lines -moments, and the end was so dissatisfying. shala_2

I’m not criticising the end, I’m just saying it didn’t work for me. You’d know someone who’d precisely love it for the end. I just wouldn’t want to leave the theatre with that feeling.

Special mention to the actor who played Joshi’s father. He was my favourite character!

Shala on IMDB

Dangal (2016)

Dangal (2016)

mv5bzwrhnwrmmzktota3ms00nmu4lwe4mmmtmgrjnwexogexzdjkl2ltywdlxkeyxkfqcgdeqxvynjy1mtg4mzc-_v1_ql50_“Biopic of Mahavir Singh Phogat, who taught wrestling to his daughters Babita Kumari Phogat and Geeta Kumari Phogat. Geeta Phogat was India’s first female wrestler to win at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, where she won the gold medal while her sister Babita Kumari won the silver.”

^This is a known fact to all! Now how does one retell this story  that it lingers and troubles and inspires and urges to dream?
The answer is Dangal.

You know sometimes if a scene is driven with the right emotions, flawless performances and crisp dialogue, even convenient writing here and there can be effortlessly overlooked. Such is the magic of Dangal! mv5bmjy0nzviztutnju4os00mty1ltlkmditndq5ytvjzgzimzril2ltywdll2ltywdlxkeyxkfqcgdeqxvymzgxnja1nte-_v1_ql50_
The moment the movie started it had my undivided attention.
On the writing front, Nitesh Tiwari’s writing team has done its magic again – hilarious dialogue from time to time, crisp scenes (sometimes as less as one dialogue scenes), they even pulled off a narration throughout the movie. One saw heavy streaks of the unsaid blue-print of writing a well structured and emotionally connecting screenplay from a ‘Rajkumar Hirani film’.

Piyush GuptaShreyas JainNikhil Mehrotra and Nitesh Tiwari have indulged into every scene, every character, every emotion and brought out the best of them all. Some conflicts are predictable but not the ‘oh c’mon kinds’ but the ‘oh let’s see how it is done though’ kinds. Gripping, engaging with a subtle and nuanced take on patriarchy and feminism.
Felt like after a long time a sports film has matched up to the superiority of a Chak de! India

mv5byznhngy5mzatzgi4ny00yta4lthknjgtmtk2yjllmgfjodjjxkeyxkfqcgdeqxvymjm1njkwmdi-_v1_ql50_Pritam is on a roll or what! Goose-bumpy music. I’m in awe of Amitabh Bhattacharya’s genius. God I’m so glad he didn’t pursue singing, the world would have missed out on his words.(Although, he has a soulful voice. So he must sing too.) His lyrics have doubled the thrill of the film.

Coming to the performances, Fatima Sana ShaikhSanya MalhotraZaira Wasim and Suhani Bhatnagar were magical! All four of them have done great justice to their parts. The hardwork and dedication they must’ve put in prepping for these roles is evident on the big screen. Their diction, body language and expressions are on point! Cannot wait to see more of them.
Sakshi Tanwar is the perfect cast for the mother. She’s soft and stern all at once. Always a delight to watch.
Aamir Khan is a visual treat and he’s nailed it yet again! mv5bytezywzhmwitndhhmi00odvmlwixy2mtownimzc0otjkzdcyl2ltywdll2ltywdlxkeyxkfqcgdeqxvymzgxnja1nte-_v1_ql50_sx1777_cr001777999_al_

Nitesh Tiwari‘s work is so inspiring and motivating. Want to see and learn more and more from his work. 

Dangal on IMDB

La La Land (2016)

La La Land (2016)

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I heard long back that the director of Whiplash, Damien Chazelle, made this film. But honestly, I conveniently forgot. It didn’t even come back to me when I saw J.K Simmons play a restaurant owner, bearing a tit-bit resemblance to his role in that film.

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And I’m glad I didn’t remember any of it. I walked into the theatre with a blank mind and great curiosity for musicals. The last good one I watched and loved was Moulin Rouge! back in college. As I rewind back, I realise, it must’ve not been the songs as much as it was the story. Same, I’m happy, is the case with La La Land – its beautiful, heart-aching story.

The conflict between heart and mv5bm2nhmjvmnjetmjmwnc00oddjlwe2zdytyzkynzi0yjzjnwmyl2ltywdll2ltywdlxkeyxkfqcgdeqxvymzi3njy2odc-_v1_ql50_mind. Achieving dreams and weaving an ideal future.
I’ve often had this debate with friends ‘why does one let go off whom they love to achieve their dreams? what is this practicality? why do they say that “this is the right thing to do?” ‘who told you that?’  mv5bnzgxnmrkodgtyjyxyy00odewlwe3mzktnzu2ztgwmmjlzwm5l2ltywdll2ltywdlxkeyxkfqcgdeqxvyndqzmdg4nzk-_v1_ql50_
I’ve heard and accepted some rational reasoning but none completely satisfying.
And so the last 10 minutes of this film are my most favourite 10 mins of ANY film!
It explores the ‘what if’. What if both did work out together? ‘What if I didn’t taunt you over being a loser and you didn’t feel like a failure with me?’ ‘whmv5bytywztuzmjgtnmyymc00ogrilwjknzetyjq1zgq4mgnhotiwl2ltywdll2ltywdlxkeyxkfqcgdeqxvyndqzmdg4nzk-_v1_ql50_at if we worked it out together?’ ‘what if sitting on that bench, looking at the great view, I didn’t ask you to follow your dreams, instead I asked us to follow our dreams and discuss the sorrows of it and overcome them together?’

What if that was considered as an option..

MV5BMzExOTU3YTgtNzFkYy00ZGIxLTgyYTYtOGY1OWVjNmVmYzg4XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjI3MTIxNzE@._V1_QL50_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,716_AL_.jpgWords can’t do justice to the beauty that this one is.
Some may find it a bit too long, but the camera work will catch your attention soon enough to make you forget that.
Emma Stone – I really really liked in this one.
She’s gorgeous, charming and contagious.
Ryan Gosling is, well, Ryan Gosling.

“Here’s to the ones that dream, foolish as they may seem,
Here’s to the hearts that ache, here’s to the mess we make.”

🙂

Let this haunt you for a while.

La La Land on IMDB

Also, I have been raving about this, so just one last time, Jagga Jasoos is a musical and I can hardly contain my excitement to watch it!

The Great Gatsby (2013)

The Great Gatsby (2013)

A little late in the day, I am. But so glad to have finally chanced upon this one.
In the midst of all the glitz and glamour, the high society parties and the campy performances what essentially caught my attention was the honesty in the otherwise perpetually lying eyes of Jay Gatsby.

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The honesty with which he loved once and loved forever.
I know the film is adapted from the book and I haven’t read it, so I won’t be able to comment what’s better. And I know that some have found the treatment over-the-top and forced. ‘Trying to be Wes-Anderson and Tim Burton-ish’. But it all worked for me just fine. MV5BMTkzNzU5NzA5M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMzcwOTM0OQ@@._V1_QL50_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,744_AL_.jpg

The larger than life approach, the fancy gifts, weirdly tall men and women, underground secret meetings,and that familiar but raw – sweet love.
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Daisy and Gatsby met somewhere in the chaos his younger years, he lost her because he wasn’t wealthy enough to win her for marriage and hence, decided to go to any extent to be wealthy- to be worthy of her.

The film opens with a narration and it pretty much stays throughout , at times I felt that we could do without it, but once the narrator too became a part of the narrative, I didn’t mind him being around. Nick is an outsider to this lavish circus where Daisy is pretending to be happy with her cheating husband, who loves her but also his keep. While the great Jay hopelessly waits for his one true love.
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My favourite scene is when Daisy breaks down and confesses that she loved Gatsby for 5 years but she also loved her husband. She hoped for Gatsby to return but in moments was grateful to have Mr. Buchanan, her husband by her side. She did, at a point, love two people with all her honesty. A concept so baffling and yet so interesting. MV5BMTcyMjAyNjE4M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMzYwOTM0OQ@@._V1_QL50_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,744_AL_.jpg

The end is tragic and dramatic. I love such endings.

The Great Gatsby on IMDB