September 08, 2008

Two Plays and a Few Movies

A lot of my personal reviews have been on hold for sometime now. Not because I lack the time but perhaps more so because I lacked the enthusiasm to write. And somehow I do not like this business of reviewing. It doesn’t make any sense to be mean about someone’s creative exploits even though I might have an issue with the word creativity in some cases as well. But then when I went to watch ‘A Wednesday’ at a near empty Sterling, I thought I might as well make whoever cared two hoots about my blog read about the plays and movies I really liked.

The Prophet – Gibran’s most known work came alive in the performance of Naseeruddin Shah. For those of you who have read The Prophet, you will perhaps not gain anything much from the rendering of the book and if you are new to Gibran, perhaps you will miss all that’s subtle and not explicitly stated. But The Prophet is worth a see if only to see Naseeruddin Shah perform. Apart from the fact that he has memorized the entire text of The Prophet, which I assure you is no mean task, his expressions and delivery is something that will haunt you even after you leave the theatre. Powerful performance from a master.

Class of 84 – A well known play (with quite a few accolades under its belt) that did not disappoint me. The play strikes a chord with people who are in their late twenties to late thirties as perhaps this is how exactly our lives will pan out in the next decade or so. Some of us will be successful; some will be bitter because they will always undergo that nagging feeling that they could have achieved more. Idealists will turn realists. Realists will turn escapist. The fighter will compromise; the loser will play the actor. If ‘Jane Tu’ was us 5 years back, Class of 84 was us 10 years from today. Even today as I was speaking to a friend, I was thinking about this play. Today I can pour all my frustrations on him about everything in my life but as our paths diverge further, will it be possible to find the same caring shoulders that carried me back to my room on many occasions? Rajit Kapoor excelled as well (he was my favourite) and the others were equally powerful. Maybe it is not exactly what I want to believe will happen to ‘us’ but I do believe that we still will have a camaraderie that will ensure that we can meet for a weekend to just forget the realities that will face us on a Monday.

Rock on – If there is one song that defines what this movie stands for must be the Brian Adams cult classic, “Summer of 69”. The main reason why one must watch this movie is to remember the compromises that they have made in their pursuit of a better life. It actually serves the purpose for the audience in the packed hall who came in to see and remember the alternative careers they could have chosen. Rock on can be the story of any college band that flock the college fests across the country. It can be the story of you and me, who tried something different at one stage in our lives, music, writing, photography, anything and yet gave it up because we just didn’t have the courage to pursue it. Maybe we were just not good at it. Or maybe, we just failed to realize that even keeping alive the dream was winning a major battle. The most interesting conversation I have had about the movie (apart from how hot Farhan Akhtar looked) was about the difference in attitude of the two wives in the movie. I do not know who you liked better? But to me, Farhan’s wife in the movie was extremely irritating. Apart from the fact that she was always trying to be the ideal wife, it also irritated me to no end that not even one strand of her hair was out of place in the entire movie.

Mumbai Meri Jaan – If you want to observe the resilience of Indians, watch this movie. People often argue with me that what I call resilience is nothing but resignation to fate. We know we can not fight something that is beyond our reach and therefore we go ahead with our day to day lives. I always disagree. Mumbai Meri Jaan doesn’t preach. It doesn’t talk about honest cops who perform heroic acts. It speaks about cops like normal citizens, equally corrupt but at a more humane level equally nice. Paresh Rawal gave an amazing performance. He unabashedly takes bribes and yet he is respected by everyone in the force since he knows in his heart what is truly wrong. Madhavan the idealist faces the problem that most of my known bunch of arm chair idealists face; “How long can you stretch your idealism? When is the point where you finally give in?” Except Soha Ali Khan, (who matures as an actress after a memorable performance in Khoya Khoya Chand) no one is perhaps a direct victim of the Bomb Blasts and yet the blasts touches wach one of them in different ways. The paths chosen by Irfan Khan and KK Memon are different and yet I am sure they exist somewhere in this city because they are real life characters. This is a movie which will not make you feel nice after the show is over but it will make you pause to think, if only for a moment.

A Wednesday – Indian cinema finally churns out an intelligent movie without resorting to muscle flexing heroes and sobbing heroines. A Wednesday is the thriller we have never had till now. It shows us that now we have the guts to cast two aging actors as the leading men and make a block buster of a movie which in its presentation style and pace is pure dynamite. Anupam Kher as the helpless Police Commissioner and Naseeruddin Shah as the mystery man who claims to have planted bombs around the city keep you at the edge of your seats for the better part of the movie. The movie has its stereotypes but I am not complaining. If I can appreciate a Die Hard or a Vantage Point then I can appreciate this movie which is any day a much better fare that most terrorism related thrillers that Hollywood exports at our shores.

Tahaan – If you thought Darsheel (TZP) had no competition, think again. Tahaan is a cinematic masterpiece by Santosh Sivan and if for nothing else you should see the movie for its beautiful photography. The movie is a painting by itself of a valley which is dear to us, a valley that’s called heaven on earth, a valley that is ravaged by missing men and children who play army vs. terrorists with toy gun, a valley where questions of loyalty are asked again and again to every side. Tahaan might be the story of a little boy and his donkey on the surface but it also is a story of despair, struggle and ultimately hope in the times of adversity. Rahul Bose looks like a misfit in the movie but even he gives his best as the not-so-bright helper of the trader (Anupam Kher) but at the end of the day the actor who steals the show is the little boy Tahaan (Purav). The movie’s beauty lies in the silent poignancy of Sarika which in a way reflects the state of the valley. The valley waits – in hope.

What Happened in Vegas – After a heavy duty of serious movies, you need a movie like this to make your mind get rid of all the serious thoughts that keep cropping up. It’s a nice boy meets girl, falls apart, meets again story that you have watched in a thousand forms before this. Yet, this movie will not tire you out. Cameron Diaz may not look as beautiful as she did in The Mask but even then the movie is worth a watch if only to get yourself back into the fairy tale land where everything becomes all right in the end.


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War - war said...

My God! :) :) You certainly have been watching movies, and watching movies! :D And plays. You lucky bum, you. I have a lot of catching up to do.
P.S. Oh, really enjoyed your reviews, btw.

War - war said...

@Class of 84 : Main hoon na Banjo! :)

Madhurjya (Banjo) said...

@ War - Thanks :) one more reason to believe :)

Pooja said...

I wanna watch Class of 84! :( have heard a lot about it, but have to wait for a chance I guess....
You've been watching a lot of movies and plays :) nice reviews - all!

Madhurjya (Banjo) said...

@Pooja - Thanks :) Yeah had the sudden opportunity.