Monday, February 21, 2011

The color of paradise - Majid Majidi

Another nice movie.

A blind child goes home to his village for the holidays. His father is ambivalent at best. How does their relationship go?

Again a story built around the simple things. A beautifully crafted movie.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Children of Heaven - Majid Majidi

Lovely heartwarming movie! I'd planned to watch it many years ago, but somehow didn't get around to it. Glad that y pushed me into watching it after all.

A little kid loses his little kid sisters shoes. They're poor, and those are her only pair of school shoes.. how are they going to manage?

Its a movie built around such seemingly little things. Great direction, great performances from the kids.

Must watch.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Dhobi Ghat -

Good movie overall, it starts a bit slowly, and takes some getting used to, but by the end its a pretty rewarding experiance.

It follows the lives of different people in bombay, the spaces and relationships they negotiate, follow, learn.

People, all of whom have come from somewhere 'else'. The painter living alone, who's following the life of the previous tenant. Where did she go.. ? The banker type, who's just here on a sabbatical from abroad. She's following him, and the city, in search of love? The dhobi, who came there as a little kid, and is young enough to dream of making it big.. whose life intersects many people.

The movie is full of little nuances, and little observed facts which make a must watch.

The one rather jarring bit, is Amir Khan, in a surprisingly bad performance. Yes, its not a very well etched character, and yes perhaps this is not his forte, but still, there was something very very contrived and over the top about him. Otherwise the acting is decent overall. Prateik is very good, so there's something to look forward there. As an aside, I should eat my words about Amir always adding populism, in this one I guess he bowed to his wife!

Final warning - yes it is a very arty-slow movie, no pretensions of even trying to appeal to all. So yes, target audience is small, and a majority of people will not like it.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Yeh Saali Zindagi - Sudhir Mishra

Worth a watch. Can't say its very good or exceptional, but it keeps moving like a potboiler pageturner novel.

There's a smart guy, who's working with some shady big money ( think connection to gangsters, recovery men, land, hawala et al). Unfortunately for him, things start going wrong. His boss isn't being square with him. To top that, his love story doesn't quite seem to be going well. And while this is happening, there's another set of gangsters, who're sorting out their own internal quabbling. Somewhere the various plots meet, and then things keep happening at a frenetic pace.

Overall it has its fun moments, although it could've been better edited and made shorter and crisper.

However its not for a delicate audience - the language and some scenes ensure that. Additionally its not for a lazy audience - there's a lot happening, you need to pay attention.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Zorro - Isabel Allende

Read on dad's reco. Was a decent read.

The character of the fictional zorro was etched out in various tv series and movies. This book creates one possible childhood for him, his birth, his early years, his lineage and upbringing.

Set at the beginning of the 19th century, it traces the birth and childhood of a boy born in a world where the native americans and the spanish and other conquerers were jostling for power. The child is of mixed parentage, and sees the conflicting world views. The book traces through his childhood and pre-teens in europe, in the backdrop of the tumultous times. The invaders from europe push back the natives further and further on the fringes, brutally subduing them, bringing in their 'way of life' and changing the landscape forever. Meanwhile there's the background of the french revolution, bringing with it, its radical ideas, which challenged europe's traditional thinking, but which was also at complete logger heads with the expansion that all the powers in eupore were following.

Overall its a decent read, keeping the story moving, with lots of action as zorro indulges in various escapades. At the same time, there's the understated background of the times he lives in which shapes him.