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  #91  
Old October 28th, 2015, 01:30 PM
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Re: Movie reviews of some off beat films that I saw recently

^^ Interesting. I have found Deepa Mehta's movies to subtly mock Hinduism, though not in too loud a way. In fact, 'Water', mocks Hinduism the least. But this does not look like that. Or May be she will make a sequel where Salim Shinai is no longer safe in Modi's India.

I remember reading long back Khushwant Singh's take on 'Satanic Verses' was that it was long and boring and it tries the shock value to keep the reader engaged. Apparently, he had recommended Penguin not to bring out the book.

My 3rd Gen Brit Pak Landlord in London had a copy of 'Imaginary Homelands' by Salman Rushdie.
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  #92  
Old December 28th, 2015, 10:43 AM
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Re: Movie reviews of some off beat films that I saw recently

Luther



It's the early sixteenth century and religion is the dominant force in the world . People are steeped in superstition and dogma .

......And it's the same even in what is supposedly the world's most advanced continent---Europe....
The church is fleecing people in the name of getting their sins written off for money and the priests are awash in debauchery....

One brave German---a monk---has the courage to stand up against all this not only because he is fearless but also because he believes he is a true believer in God . His name is Martin Luther....

He is shocked by the sale of indulgences for money to write off sins and by the whoring done by priests and by the sale of useless trinkets and by the corruption and the luxury of church officials while the common people are mired in poverty . And he has the chutzpah to post his views on paper and hammer the paper on the door of the church---thus going into open rebellion....

As his views are printed all across Germany he becomes a rallying point for people who want to revolt against the catholic church . He is asked to recant his theses and when he refuses , he is excommunicated....

But it is too late as he has set alight the reformation , and events have moved so fast now no one can set the clock back....

To some he is a hero fighting against injustice , while to others he is a zealot who has divided Christiandom at a time when the Turks are knocking on the gates of Vienna . But love him or hate him you cannot ignore him....

Luther has a powerful protector in Frederick the wise who is the elector of Saxony , but an even more powerful enemies in Pope Leo X and Charles V who is the Holy Roman Emperor .

Luther is brought to trial at Worms where he will have to summon up the guts to stand up to his beliefs .

So does he have the guts ??

And what is his reaction to the slaughter that his dividing beliefs have created ??

Do the German princes side with him or against him ??

And does he achieve his goal of translating the Bible into the German language and make it accessible to the common people ??

Watch the movie for the answers....

Joseph Fiennes has put up a fine performance as Martin Luther , bringing out his passion for reforming his religion all too well . Peter Ustinov has clearly enjoyed playing his role of Frederick the wise by injecting a touch of humor even in serious situations .

Luther's marriage comes almost as an afterthought in the film , as the entry of his wife ( played by Claire Cox ) is towards the end of the movie .

And the movie ends well before Luther's life did....

Music is the strong part of the film , as classical music blends with holy hymns---it is always in the background and is a powerful presence without being loud , making the movie more likable .

All in all , I was pleasantly surprised to get a free and interesting history lesson in a VCD which I had got free with my DVD of 'Dr Zhivago' .

Verdict---Very decent .
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  #93  
Old December 29th, 2015, 10:33 AM
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Re: Movie reviews of some off beat films that I saw recently

Sheen



In the Kashmiri language Sheen means snow , and it is a popular name given to girls there too---for their skin is as fair and white as snow .

It is also the name of the film's heroine....

And by showing the story of a fictitious beauty called Sheen , director Ashok Pandit tries to showcase the story of the Kashmiri hindus---a minority who have become refugees in their own country . May be the film will confirm to the English meaning of it's name ( sheen means to shine in reflected light in the English language ) and throw some light on the plight of the hindus of Kashmir.....

It's a plight that the nation seems to have forgotten , and is a fitting reminder to the fact that people who are non violent ( like the Kashmiri hindus are ) have no voice or weight in the world....

Those whose voice carries weight are the ones who have taken recourse to the gun , and the booming guns have changed the destinies of the Kashmir valley forever.....or so it seems....

The story begins in the late eighties when our heroine Sheen lives a carefree life in Kashmir valley . Her father is the local school teacher and teaches in an open school set in the midst of a sylvan countryside . She falls in love with Mannu who is son of her dad's friend .

And what could be more fit for falling in love than the gorgeous countryside---all magnificent snow capped mountains and stunningly beautiful valleys and superb forests of Chinar trees and rivers and lakes flowing with ice cold water.....not for nothing is Kashmir known as the Switzerland of Asia , a destination for a life long romance or at least a honeymoon....

It seems the rarefied air of Kashmir and the beauty of the countryside can breed nothing but pure thoughts of tranquility ; and the Kashmiri people are indeed a gentle people---a world away from their formidable martially inclined neighbours in Punjab and the Pathan regions .

But the scientific and technological advances of the 19th century brought contact with these very neighbours to the formerly isolated Kashmiris , and the 20th century brought the clash of civilizations---one civilization being hindu and the other being muslim....

And into the vortex of this 20th century clash is caught our heroine Sheen....

Actually she wants to do nothing but lead her life along with her family and her love in the midst of the sylvan countryside , but can an individual resist the tidal wave of history ?? Especially when the history is being created by that scourge of the 21st century called Islamic fundamentalism....

Director Ashok Pandit does make a brave attempt show the world the trials and tribulations of the Hindus of Kashmir valley---a minority driven away from their land by islamic terrorists trained and abetted by Pakistan . Their tragedy is shown in all it's glory and it's pity.... It's a story of near and dear ones killed , of women's honour defiled by rapists , of administrative and police callousness towards them , of homes lost and futures destroyed , and above all of the pain of being driven out of the lands in which their ancestors had lived from thousands of years....

And Sheen has to bear this pain in all it's solitude and with fortitude---She has to bear the sight of her nation's flag burnt by traitors , and Pakistani flags raised in it's place....her lover is kidnapped by terrorists , her father is forced to close down his school to give way for a madrasa ( islamic seminary ) , her brother is brutally killed by militants , and she and her family have to leave the comforts of home to lead a life of destitution in a refugee camp in another part of the country....

Her own Hindu co religionists from other parts of the nation look down upon Kashmiri hindus , and she and her family have to live off packets of food thrown at them from trucks like they throw dog food to dogs . Worse , policemen try to prey upon her beauty with lecherous advances , reducing the life of a lady from a respectable family like herself to a den of dispair....

Yet she remains bold and courageous and outspoken among all her sorrows , just like a her father....and above all she remains a patriot---never loses her love for India....

This very courageousness sets her on a final mission---to try to reach the man she loves and who is in the clutches of terrorists , who are led by his childhood friend Shaukat , a Kashmiri muslim who has turned to the path of revolt against India . It's a mission in which Sheen is about to risk her very life....

So does she succeed in reaching and freeing Mannu---the man she loves ?? Watch the movie for that....

The story of Kashmir is tragic , and therefore the story of the film is bound to end in tragedy ; tragedy above all for the home grown Kashmiri terrorists---who do not realize until too late that those who live by the gun ultimately die by the same weapon , and do not realize that they are just an expendable tool of war for their Pakistani masters .

Music of the film ( by Nadeem Shravan ) is good , and so is the photography . Acting is decent---by everyone . The film has certainly been made with purpose if not passion.....and the purpose is laudable without doubt.....

Verdict---decent enough .
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  #94  
Old December 29th, 2015, 12:07 PM
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Re: Movie reviews of some off beat films that I saw recently

^^
Docji, where did you get to see Sheen. I saw some parts of it on ZeeTv or such a channel long back.
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  #95  
Old December 29th, 2015, 01:04 PM
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Re: Movie reviews of some off beat films that I saw recently

Bhaag Johny is also ok types.
*ing Kunal Khemu.
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  #96  
Old December 29th, 2015, 03:16 PM
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Re: Movie reviews of some off beat films that I saw recently

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^^
Docji, where did you get to see Sheen. I saw some parts of it on ZeeTv or such a channel long back.
TV--Don't remember which channel . watched and reviewed it an year ago .
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  #97  
Old December 31st, 2015, 09:03 AM
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Re: Movie reviews of some off beat films that I saw recently

Remember almost all of 85 and 86, DD used to telecast art movies on Sunday evening, disappointing all the audience.
Contrarian me however used to like many of these like 'Andhi Gali', 'Ek Ruka hua faisla', 'Paar', etc.
Anyone remember one movie called 'Yeh woh Manzil to nahin'. If so, would it be available anywhere on line. There are only small portions on youtube the last time i checked.
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  #98  
Old December 31st, 2015, 09:27 AM
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Re: Movie reviews of some off beat films that I saw recently

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Remember almost all of 85 and 86, DD used to telecast art movies on Sunday evening, disappointing all the audience.
Contrarian me however used to like many of these like 'Andhi Gali', 'Ek Ruka hua faisla', 'Paar', etc.
Anyone remember one movie called 'Yeh woh Manzil to nahin'. If so, would it be available anywhere on line. There are only small portions on youtube the last time i checked.
Haven't heard of this movie, can't find it even now, may be on torrents, let me search.

I like art movies better, they have good content, and like independent movies all they have is the story, and often have good actors. Wife wanted to watch 'ek doctor ki maut' on youtube recently.. I was like that movie frustrates me so badly.. because its true, the struggle of talent in India and how the people around pull them down because they can never be that lotus blooming in murky water.
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  #99  
Old December 31st, 2015, 11:45 AM
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Re: Movie reviews of some off beat films that I saw recently

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Originally Posted by sarv_shaktimaan View Post
Haven't heard of this movie, can't find it even now, may be on torrents, let me search.
It stars Pankaj Kapoor, playing a student who is being hunted by college goondas (Like NSUI used to be). Apparently is very real in terms of 'college politics'. i had forgotten the name too and Located it on IMDb after a long search.
It played on DD in the 80s, i watched a part of it. afterwards, some friends praised it.

They played 'Adult' art movies later on like 'Arth' at 10 PM. There was also 'lacemaker' and some russian movies.

I was wondering since doc ji is into a lot such movies, whether he had come across this one.
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  #100  
Old January 1st, 2016, 10:17 AM
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Re: Movie reviews of some off beat films that I saw recently

Dr Zhivago ( 1965 )



The movie tells the saga of the Russian revolution through the story of Dr Zhivago---a doctor and a poet....

It's the story of Russia through those turbulent times....

A story of lives torn apart....

A story of peoples' existence buffeted by the giant winds of history....

A story of human privacy extinguished and finished....

A story of personal feelings and ambitions crushed by the power of the state....

And amidst all this , one man ( Dr Zhivago ) tries desperately to hold on to his life and his dignity and his freedom....

And amidst all the horror around him , he finds time for love and passion and romance....

But those sweet moments of love and passion and romance come all too briefly for Dr Zhivago....

They come too briefly for him because all around him the revolution is destroying lives and putting an end to freedom....

Yet in getting those tender moments of love and romance , Dr Zhivago is an exceptionally lucky Russian....

Yes , exceptionally lucky because all around him people are fighting and dying and killing....

That's the condition of Russia in those stormy days....

A condition that is brought about magnificently in this film....

The film brings about the Russian revolution to life in all it's glory and suffering and pity and devastation....

But it's a film....

And as films go , it's main concentration is on an individual's life and his triumphs and his tragedies....

Sadly , there are more tragedies than triumphs in the life of Dr Zhivago....

And the same is story of every Russian....

Indeed , your heart goes out to every Russian male and female to have gone through so much grief....

And you salute their endurance to endure it all....

So what about the story of Dr Zhivago ??

It's long and convoluted and full of coincidental encounters of people in the most unlikeliest of places---encounters that propel the story forward....

And what a story and what a film....

Embellished with superb photography showcasing the incredible vastness of Russia....

Photography of the Russian landscape full of massive plains and swift flowing rivers and snowcapped mountain peaks....

And a film with a scintillating and heartstopping musical score known as Lara's theme which one listens to in awestruck silence.....

Geraldine Chaplin plays Zhivago's wife and the stunning Julie Christie plays his lover , and together the form a love triangle that never explodes into confrontation....

But what explodes is the history of Russia as Russians' peaceful lives are disrupted by the first world war....

As the Germans invade Russia , the communists are hoping for a Russian defeat---for defeat will bring about the revolution they want....

And as revolution comes , the lives of Dr Zhivago and his wife and the woman he eventually falls in love with go topsyturvy like a seesaw as they are thrown from one place to another....

From Moscow to Siberia they are thrown in a cattle train being transported like animals....

From the train to a lovely dacha hidden in the snowy mountains--- a dacha which forms a love nest for Zhivago and his wife and later for Zhivago and his lover....

But Dr Zhivago's services are needed by the red army and he is forced to abandon both his women to serve in the army....

And when he escapes , he returns to find his wife deported to a foreign land....

And Lara ( Zhivago's lover )---what about her ??
A beautiful woman like her has too many admirers and she has a past of being raped and later of having a husband who is a bolshevic.....

The stories of Dr Zhivago and his wife and Lara and her husband and rapist are all twisted and churned by the tidal wave of Russia's history....

First the world war and then the revolution and then civil war...

As they are all brought together and separated and then brought together again by the turns in the story , the main question is---can they survive it all....??

And is survival worth it ??

Has life any meaning at all in all the horror ??

Watch the movie for answers to all this....

I guarantee that your money wont be wasted....

Verdict---fabulous .
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  #101  
Old January 1st, 2016, 10:25 AM
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Re: Movie reviews of some off beat films that I saw recently

Memoirs of a geisha



The setting is Japan , where Geishas have their own place in society .

Narration of the film is done in the wonderfully old voice of a Geisha who has been through the ups and downs of life . And as is typical in the life stories of fallen women ( and a Geisha IS a fallen woman , no matter how sophisticated she is ) , she has been sold as a sex slave when she was a child along with her sister by her father who desperately needs the money .

The first 45 minutes of the movie are tragic and are filled with heart rending moments , like the moment when the leading actress and her sister are separated from each other permanently to go to different brothels . And as is inevitable in these stories , their attempts to escape from the hell they are in are unsuccessful .

To be honest I can't make myself see these stories of women sold into sex slavery for giving pleasure to men , for to me human trafficking is the worst crime on the planet . But something made me hold on to seeing the rest of the movie---maybe it was the atmosphere of the mystical orient that the movie creates . Even though I am an oriental myself ( I am from India ) , this was a different variety of orient I was seeing---the Japanese form .

And the film certainly recreates the society of Japan on celluloid , and it also wonderfully recreates the era of the 1930s in Japan . Photography is good too , though the film looks like it has forever been shot in the dark ; maybe that is because it deals with ladies of the night....

Or maybe that is because the film deals with a dark theme---the life of a Geisha , which is filled with many moments of sorrow and others of despair....

But our heroine ( here I revert to the Indian practice of calling the character played by the leading actress as 'heroine' ) is a lionheart , trying to survive through all the heartbreak and trying to triumph against the odds . And heartbreaking moments are many , brought about by a jealous rival older geisha who fears that our heroine may outclass her in the profession one day , and also brought by those whose ambitions are destroyed by our heroine's march towards success .

However in her march towards success , our heroine breaks one golden rule of a geisha---that as woman born to give pleasure to many men she cannot fall in love . For love demands fidelity to one person and her profession is such that she cannot remain loyal to one man .

Instead , our heroine has one outstanding desire in among all the trials and tribulations in life---to get as close to and be a part of the life of the man she has fallen in love with . And she is ready to strain her wits and renounce her pleasures to reach her goal . But her enemies come to know about her secret desire too , and use it to give her further heartache . How long will she hold on to hope....??

The second world war interrupts this world and temporarily the life of our heroine is turned upside down . And at the end of the war comes a new phenomenon---the American occupation of the country . Along with the occupation come American soldiers flush with dollars and also flush with unbridled lust....

So how does our lovely geisha cope with the new situation ??
Does she get the love of the man she has dared to love for so long ?? Does he even know about it ??
Does a woman of her profession and in her situation have the right to fall in love at all ??
Can a woman sold as a sex slave in childhood ever dream of happiness ??

Watch the movie for the answers....it will be a good watch....

The whole world loves a lover.....
And like a hopeless romantic I found myself rooting for the heroine to get her love and her happiness .

Or maybe that was the effect of the film....
.....For the director has woven tapestry of romance wonderfully over the setting of the film in the magical orient . And he has created a bygone era peace and war with practiced ease on the silver screen . It would be hard to resist seeing such a tale on celluloid....

Verdict---Very good .
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  #102  
Old January 1st, 2016, 02:51 PM
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Re: Movie reviews of some off beat films that I saw recently

Dr Zhivago was in Netflix streaming a few years back. There still seems to be a new version.

Docji, if you are into such classics you could also catch up on "Lawrence of Arabia". It also has Omar Sharif (and IS Johar in a bit role- as good as Anil Kapoor's in MI4).
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  #103  
Old January 1st, 2016, 02:56 PM
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Re: Movie reviews of some off beat films that I saw recently

Lawrence of Arabia.. Although a classic and grand movie .. I feel its a pathetic attempt to show Brits as the only smart people who know warfare.
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  #104  
Old January 10th, 2016, 10:57 AM
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Re: Movie reviews of some off beat films that I saw recently

Maximum



In the movie '' The good the bad and the ugly '' there is an iconic dialogue---'' If you want to shoot , shoot . Dont talk ''.....

I wanted to give the same advice to the director of this film.....

....For one goes to the film in the hope of seeing some mind blasting ear shattering heart crunching shooting of criminals and their associates in mindblowing encounters---but what does one get ??? One gets to see endless yak yak---I mean talk---between the various protagonists in the film .

The publicity promised an epic rivalry between two cops for maximum headcount of criminals shot dead in maximum city Mumbai.....

But what one gets is more talk and less action---more of strategising and planning to win the so called '' epic '' rivalry rather than action.....

......And when the shooting does come , there are no dramatic encounters between cops and criminals---bus dabao the ghoda on the criminal and khallas.....he's dead.....

And the rivalry is shown over a period spanning years and increasing with time---a slow burn rather than an explosion......

The rivalry starts in 2003 when ladies bars were part of the night scene of Mumbai.....and that gives the director of the film the chance to show some chammiyas in action.....and also brings nostalgic memories of nights spent ogling at the dancing beauties of Tandoor bar to your very own Ashdoc.....I could almost feel the tears of nostalgia well up in my eyes---where is my Mumbai of the bygone days ??

Anyway the ladies bar scene gives the chance to the director to showcase the '' aa ante amlapuram '' song with a mouthwateringly well endowed dancer----but he ruins it by showing the song incomplete....what a waste....
He had a potentially superhit song in his hands and he smashed it !!
For those who want the complete song hear the original Andhra version.....
I wish the director of the original song was dead so that i could use the phrase '' he would have turned in his grave '' but he is most probably alive


To come back to the story Sonu Sood is the north indian cop and Naseeruddin Shah is the marathi one----and both are backed by politicians of their communities mirroring the rivalry between the marathis and north indians for control of the city. Also various officers in the department side with either cop. Also various officers in the department side with either cop. The two cops also kill each others informers so that the other gets less info about criminals .But the rivalry lacks zing and substance---no fun in seeing it.....

Sonu has a educated but traditional wife in actress Neha Dhupia---and she looks beautiful enough in sarees to make me dream about women in my life ( who dont wear sarees ) wearing them.....good acting from her.....
But Sonu still has the affair on the sly with bollywood starlets and his wife has to forgive them like a traditional bharatiya nari....what else can she do ??
I will tell what I would have done if I had such a wife.....I would have QUIT going to ladies bars and QUIT meeting bollywood starlets....but Sonu does not have ashdoc's heart ( I still wish I had his wife ).....

Finally towards the end there is some real fighting.....maybe the director woke up to the fact that his film lacked powerpacked dhishoom dhishoom---but he woke too late.....
And between whom is the fighting towards the climax?? between cops and criminals ?? naah....
Its between cops and cops and with politicians thrown in between for good measure.....the rivalry has got a little too bitter.......

Verdict----out of five stars how much should I give the film ?? maximum ?? baah !!! I would rather give minimum.....
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  #105  
Old January 10th, 2016, 12:28 PM
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Re: Movie reviews of some off beat films that I saw recently

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Originally Posted by ashdoc View Post
....For one goes to the film in the hope of seeing some mind blasting ear shattering heart crunching shooting of criminals and their associates in mindblowing encounters---but what does one get ??? One gets to see endless yak yak---I mean talk---between the various protagonists in the film .
Docji, in case you see an 'offbeat film', wont there be more yak Yak than dishum dishum.
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