Stories about film

Zinda Bhaag: Pakistani cinema’s return to glory?

I watched Zinda Bhaag at its World Premier in Toronto, incidentally on August 14, 2013 – Pakistan’s   Independence Day. After a successful ten day run, followed by many reviews, and nominated for Pakistan’s official entry to the Oscars in the Best Foreign Language Film category, I thought I’d write my personal review of the film. Using cricket lingo, Zinda Bhaag is not a Shahid Afridi sixer, or a T-20 slog. Instead, it is a technically perfect and faultless double hundred by a maestro like Javed Miandad, with its due share of sixers and boundaries. Like any double hundred, Zinda Bhaag not ...

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Shuddh Desi Romance: Fairy tales exist, with or without marriage!

Three days into the release of Shuddh Desi Romance (SDR), most of the Bollywood viewers (irrespective of whether they have seen the movie or not) know that the film circles around the theme of cohabitation, or live-in relationships as more commonly known. Most of these people have also formed opinions about the movie and its concept, which leaves little room for me to address the movie in. After all, what can I say? Everything has already been said! Frankly, to me, SDR is not about love or relationships at all. Strangely enough, it makes me want to take a good look at ...

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Chennai Express: A trainwreck of a masala film

Chennai Express is paisa vasool; shamelessly masala, no pretense otherwise. The locations are absolutely stunning, the item number is decent, the humour hits the spot more than twice in 2.5 hours. Deepika, her acting and her saris are perfect, and of course the jodi works (mostly because of her). The music is ok, not Vishal-Shehkar’s best work this year, however, the Rajnikanth tribute stands out. But for all the pluses the film gloriously fails in the sensibilities category. For a masala flick, it has two unexpected moments of intelligence. There was a good attempt at giving some depth to Rahul’s character (played by ...

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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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