Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Yeh Jo Des Hai Mera

A terrorist who has been convicted in multiple courts of attacking parliament and has been sentenced to death by the very same courts, is not sent to gallows yet. His mercy petition is being processed at such leisurely pace that in any other country there would have been huge protests against the Government of the day. But here, for us, 'secularism' is more important even if it means being soft on terrorists. The media along with it's sponsored intellectuals and secularists backs the government wholeheartedly.

Then, one day, Balasaheb Thackeray says, “Now the President cannot see what is happening. His long hair has come before his eyes. He cannot see what is happening before him." in reference to the mercy petition lying with the President. Now this becomes a matter so grave to our terrorist-friendly media that on news channels there are panel discussions on how to punish Thackeray for these remarks on criminal grounds. Such personal comments, especially termed at the President, is very insulting, believes our media. Now, it does not bother to them, that when M F Hussein paints Goddess Saraswati nude, sentiments of so many people are hurt. The freedom of speech that holds good in the latter case does not apply to the former case. I think, what Thackeray has said is not as insinuating as what Hussein did. If the latter gets the protection under the umbrella of free speech, so should the former.

By the way, in this process of "Target Thackeray" and "Target Modi", we are forgetting the nation and it's security. It's time we wake up to it.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Guru - Not a winner

The quality of his oeuvre, naturally makes one to expect a lot from Mani Ratnam's movies. And in most of his movies he has not disappointed us. But in Guru, his latest release, he is far from meeting such expectations, let alone exceeding it. For all the hype it generated, 'Guru' was a disappointment.

'Guru' starts off well. A young Gurukant Desai(Abhishek Bachan) returns from Turkey to do business back home. After marrying Sujata(Aishwarya) to get the dowry to fund his business (or 'bijiness' as Gurubhai would say), he moves to Bombay to start a textile mill. Barring the initial struggle to get a home in Bombay and acquiring a mill, there is nothing in the film that depicts his struggle to become the big industrialist he turns out to be. It just takes a couple of scenes spanning a couple of minutes for our Gurubhai to turn to a powerful influential industrialist from a small entrepreneur in Bombay. Very Bollywood style.

Then comes his fight against Manikanth(Mithun Chakraborty), the newspaper owner. This story too is half-baked. Madhavan's role as a journalist too is one that probably could have been done away with. His fight against Gurubhai looks too filmy to be credible.

If there was one role in the movie that did not deserve its place in this story, it is that of Vidya Balan. This role, sort of breaks the film's continuity and logic. It makes one wonder, is this a film made by the same director who gave us films like "Nayagan', 'Bombay' and 'Roja'?

When, in the second half, you start to feel the movie has picked up some temp now and you hope for a strong climax, the film ends almost abruptly. Of all the films of Maniji that I have watched, this one has the weakest ending.

The music of A R Rehman has been wasted in this film. "Tera Bina", a wonderful melodious romantic song is used at an inappropriate place. And "Jaage Hain", which had a lot of cinematic promise, is never completely used. Ek-lo-ek-muft was one song which did not have any significance in the scheme of things.

Well, it's not as if this film does not have its moments. The rain-song Barso Re is brilliantly shot and its a treat to watch. Abhishek Bachan's performance stands out. His is a very powerful performance. He makes the character of Gurukant Desai look very real. Watch Guru just for his acting and that of Mithun Chakraborty. Aishwarya Rai too has done well. Camera work, art direction too are really good. Recreation of 1950's-1960's Bombay has been done stunningly well.

With a story that does not fully develop any of the characters, Guru is a movie that any ordinary director could have done. It did not require Mani. It's as if he has left the film's logic to go in disarray. What happened to Mani's amazing directorial skills? Is this film just an aberration? Honestly, I do not know.

That's it for this post. Good night.