Stories about film

Chennai Express: A perfect Bollywood masala film!

Director Rohit Shetty, who delivered hits like Golmaal 3, Singham and Bol Bachchan, brings together Shahrukh Khan and Deepika Padukone’s captivating chemistry once again to the big screen in the form of Chennai Express after the 2007’s reincarnation-romance hit film Om Shanti Om.  This light-hearted film is distinctive and has presented completely unusual avatars of Shahrukh and Deepika. To capture the heart of a moviegoer, Shetty successfully mixed all spices in a very balanced manner to present a complete family entertainment film with mindless comedy, drama, action and romance. In the film, 40-year-old Rahul (Shahrukh Khan), a North Indian bachelor and ...

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Ayub Khan and the Pakistani film industry

A leading film-maker once asserted to me that Pakistani cinema had actually thrived through the advent of Ayub Khan’s military rule. This thought is part of the broader belief amongst some quarters that the dictatorship eras have provided a certain amount of socio-economic growth and development for Pakistan. Interestingly, for film, this has never been the case. In fact, Pakistani cinema has always been built through the efforts of dedicated individuals who, despite the lack of structured support and resources, developed methods through which some sort of a film culture could develop. This culture was, in fact, undermined by the ...

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Monsters University: As good as the original, if not better!

After waiting for a good 12 years, Pixar fans are now able to experience the magic of ‘monsters’ on the big screen. These aren’t just any ordinary monsters; this is Monsters University – the prequel to Monsters Inc. (2001). The movie begins with Michael, ‘Mike’ Wazowski (Billy Crystal) and James P ‘Sulley’ Sullivan (John Goodman) getting admission at the Monsters University’s Scarer Program. They both dream of becoming the best scarers of the Monster world. Although Monsters Inc. showed Mike and Sulley as best friends and the leading scarers, their university days aren’t as good; Mike is a hard working ...

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Red Ant Dream: A documentary on naxalism, Moaists and the Punjab revolution

A few years ago, I watched a documentary film. I watched it till the very end. Once finished, I played it again – for I searched for meaning; the meaning of ‘azaadi’ (freedom), which to me, before watching this documentary had an altogether different connotation. The film inspired me. It made me believe in the significance of the word azaadi. It turned my life towards a different dimension. For the first time, I understood that occupation is not only about tyranny, killings and oppression. Something more perilous was hidden beneath – capitalism and foreign investment, just to fulfil some neo-liberal aspirations. ...

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Batman vs Superman: Please don’t mess this up, Zach Snyder!

As compared to Marvel’s well-oiled presentation at the San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC), the official announcement by filmmaker Zach Snyder for a sequel to Man of Steel seemed just a little hastily put together. In the end though, the lack of refinement mattered for little, as Snyder, in one nerdgasmic move, upstaged the rival company’s presentation on their sequel to the highest grossing superhero film of all time. That’s no mean feat, especially considering that Man of Steel (MoS) earned mixed reviews, and in terms of box office exposure, earned nearly a billion dollars less than The Avengers. As you may be aware, last weekend, Zach Snyder surprisingly ...

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The Reluctant Fundamentalist: A must watch!

Set against the social and political upheaval following the infamous 9/11, Mohsin Hamid’s book is skilfully brought to life in the movie The Reluctant Fundamentalist. Instead of the somewhat stilted, ‘Excuse me, sir, but may I be of assistance?’ with which the book starts, the movie launches straight into old Lahore (sadly, a Lahore recreated and filmed in Delhi, given the potential volatility of the subject), with an electrifying qawali. And very soon, images of the qawals’ paan stained uvulas are interwoven with disturbing scenes as an American couple on the street is attacked, the man roughly bundled into a car. The screams of ...

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The not-so-great ‘Great Gatsby’

I’ve always been disappointed by movies based on books that I’ve read because the director usually fails to bring the literary ingenuity to justice in the film. That’s why I made sure I didn’t read The Great Gatsby when I watched the movie, so that I could witness Baz Luhrmann’s magic on screen without constantly comparing it to the book. After all, he did a pretty decent job with Moulin Rouge and Australia! The Great Gatsby starts off with Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire), a depressed insomniac, trapped in a sanatorium, going down memory lane and recounting the days of his enigmatic youth. He keeps ...

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I am from Pakistan and I will be celebrating 100 years of Indian cinema

India and Pakistan are two angry nations. Every now and then, there is an unfortunate incident, or two, that makes them mad at each other — really, really mad. Currently a great deal of tension is mounting on either side of the border. Although I find myself ineligible to be commenting on the current state of political affairs the two countries are embroiled in, there is this one message I want to send across the border. On May 3, 1913, Dadasaheb Phalke, an Indian director, producer and screenwriter, released India’s first full-length feature film titled Raja Harishchandra. I did some quick math, failed, ...

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GI Joe 2: On censorship and movies based on children’s toys

Censorship. The worst enemy of intellectual freedom. The worst enemy of creativity. The worst enemy of an egalitarian, democratic society. And the best friend of the establishment. Censorship is why people in this country don’t know the history of this land. Censorship is why any reliable information construed as critical of Pakistan’s power players will vanish from the airwaves. Censorship is why Pakistan will not see the GI Joe sequel. The upcoming movie has been banned by the Pakistani censor board for its ‘fictional’ portrayal of Pakistan as a failed state and the also fictional theft of Pakistani nuclear weapons by Cobra. Max ...

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Race 2: Not as good as Race, but still enjoyable!

With Race being a mammoth success, Race 2 brought on all sorts of expectations and hype with it. However, did the film live up to all of this? In contrast to Race – which was based on a conflict between two step brothers – the sequel is aimed at getting revenge. Ranveer Singh, (Saif Ali Khan) wants to ruin the money-minded Armaan Malik (John Abraham) because he killed Ranveer’s pregnant wife, Sonia (Bipasha Basu). If you haven’t seen the movie yet, let me warn you of some spoilers ahead! The story starts with Ranveer stealing 5 hotels from Vikram Thappar (Rajesh Khattar), a ...

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