Friday, January 19, 2007

A Movie and A Marriage

Last week, I joined a throng of movie-goers to watch Guru after frantically arranging tickets to it. Yes frantically, because in Bangalore, there are hardly any theatres, fewer still that play Hindi movies, lesser in number that deliver and none that deliver to my office. Anyway, I went in and saw one of the most-awaited movies of 2007. And it was worth it. Guru is a fabulous movie that in the finest of cinematic tradition draws you in even while your saner self is enumerating its flaws.
Anyone who doesn’t like the movie is welcome to not like it but say it is because of Abhishek and I will object. I remember being extremely skeptical of this actor way back when he debuted in Refugee and boy am I eating my words! Intense, playful, romantic, tongue-tied or delivering a sales pitch – this guy is incredible. In Guru, Abhishek delivers a stellar performance that puts him (I would say) in Aamir’s league. My favorite scene is especially when he convinces Aishwariya’s father to let them marry – the way he appeals to both the man’s business sense and emotional side to win her hand is brilliant.
The rest of the cast unfortunately pales in comparison. None of the supporting actors are given anything to work with so when I say Aishwariya is adequate, it is because she is given little and what she is given, she manages with aplomb. Madhavan and Vidya Balan are frankly unnecessary and I experienced instant boredom whenever they came on the screen. Mithun is a revelation - however, I would have liked to see more of a struggle between his conscience and his heart. Even the story of Abhishek’s rise is left to songs and allusions to relate.

Guru is essentially about Abhishek and while one may not want to spend as much as I did (an obscene 225 bucks for the 4th row from the screen) to see it, one should see the movie.
Barely two days later, the much awaited announcement of marriage between Guru’s stars – Abhishek and Aishwariya - was made, to the surprise of no-one except perhaps the two concerned. Suffice to say, I believe Abhiwariya will be the sole topic of conversation for the next month and beyond. TV channels, newspapers, water coolers and canteen will abound with opinions on how he/she could have done much better, it won't last, when are they actually getting hitched, whether a 3-yr age difference matters, whether Ash looked better in her shaadi ka joda or in Cannes and if Abhishek should shave his beard for the ceremony. And no prizes for guessing who will be gleefully watching!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

One, Two..

They say things happen in threes. First I ran short of the usual junk I read so I re-read Kite Runner. And then because I wanted to try the 'cinema lounge' experience I saw Kabul Express.
But the book. Wow! and Super Hot - I may be repeating myself but its a brilliant book. I'm always nervous reading such fiction but wow! The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini tells of Amir and his journey to redemption against the backdrop of the orginal occupation by the Taliban. Its beautifully written and I freely cried through parts of it. And while the ending isn't exactly brilliant, it has an Iqbal-like perfection.
In stark contrast, Kabul Express is a disappointment. It brought back to me forcefully that while I might admire John Abraham's ass in jeans, he just cannot act. And that Arshad Warsi is probably doomed to be second lead for the rest of his life - pity 'cos he is adorable.. The real steal in the movie are their Afghan driver and the Talib. Their chemistry set against the devastation of Kabul made for riveting watching especially as you already know that defiant Afghan is pertified of the Talib and what the fate of the Talib is going to be. Not a must-see perhaps but worth watching if comes on TV sometime in the future.
And yes, the lounge experience was quite cool - Lie back, Put your feet up, Relax, Spread the blanket if the AC gets too cold, reach occasionally for the popkorn and if you're the conscientious type watch the movie as well.