Wednesday, 12 December 2012

48 Frames per Second: Boon or Curse?

Back in 2009, James Cameron changed the science of movie-making with his enthralling billion-dollar cash rig, Avatar. People cooed and wowed as the 3D came out like never before, owing to the Cameron patented ‘Fusion Camera Technology’, a technique which was developed to shoot movies in stereoscopic 3D. Come 2012, Peter Jackson and his crew present an all new way of projecting movie on a unique film with 48 frames per second (FPS) in the much-anticipated prequel to ‘The Lord of the Rings’ series, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

To kick start, one must wonder, what is Frame Rate? According to the all-knowledgeable Wikipedia, “Frame Rate is the frequency at which an imaging device produces unique consecutive images called frames. It is most often expressed in frames per second or FPS.”  In laymen terms, Frame Rate is the number of images that make up one second of a video and FPS is the measure of Frame Rate.

As history goes, movies till now were made and viewed in 24 FPS. By amplifying this rate, Peter Jackson, the director of ‘The Hobbit’, dared to eradicate the blurring effect which happens during rapid movements in 24 FPS. Thus, it will accentuate the smoother motions of the chronicles happening in the movie.

The early reactions of people after the advance screenings ranged from positive to mediocre. It was lauded by some futuristic critics saying that they were stunned by the sheer power of imagery and the exquisiteness of the movie. Acclaims also came in the way of the smoothness of action sequences that was never a feature of 3D 24 FPS. Some critics are calling it insanely gorgeous while praising its crystal clear turnout and others are whispering that, “they haven’t seen anything like it.”

With such ambitious visual appeal, come flaws. Complaints of over reality took a huge stride while some said that it takes a mammoth of a time to get acquainted with the visuals. Some criticisms were aimed at the contrast ratio in which things were either too bright or too dark. With such reality zoomed into prospects, makeups were highlighted and the movie looked like one big soap opera!

To sum it up, 48 FPS can very well be the future of movie-making. With life-like experience and slicker movements, it might rewrite the way movies are made. It will be interesting to note the final verdict of this technology when ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ will hit the theatres worldwide on 14th Dec ’12.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Movie Review] Khiladi 786: This Khiladi is out of form!

Director: Ashish R Mohan
Cast: Akshay Kumar, Asin, Mithun Chakraborty, Himesh Reshammiya
Genre: Action, Comedy

Goons soar in the air upon being beaten, cars are crumpled by atrociously lame kicks, glasses crack on a regular basis with unapologetic brash sounds and the Khiladi stands in the middle of the frame, as shamelessly as possible, trying to slip in the shoes of Superman. One must wonder where his source of power lies! Well, I got it, in the abysmal writing and appalling direction of Khiladi 786.

Story! Trust me; such a thing never existed in Khiladi’s world, still read! There is this owner of marriage bureau, Champaklal, whose son Mansukh (Himesh Reshammiya) is one dollop of horridness. So, Mansukh tries to justify his name by finding a match for a crime lord’s sister (Asin). Guess where the search ends! On the doorsteps of Bahattar Singh’s (Akshay Kumar) home! Then our Akki meets Asin and realizes that ‘dono ki Jodi dynamite hai’, and falls head over heels for the lassie. This starts the endless scuffle to impress the girl and then convincing both the families to tie them in a knot. Lame!
Well, there is no need for a roundup of performances as the character development slugs to zero in the first hour and then proceed to negative measurements in the unbearable second half of Khiladi 786.

With half shirt tucked in and half carelessly left out, Akshay Kumar walks from one scene to another with such retarded-ness that even the sloppiest of your buddy would be ashamed. If that’s not enough to provoke you to pull your hairs off, we have, the brazenly lunatic Himesh Reshamiya, which takes the silliness quotient to dizzying heights. Yeah, dizzying! 

The crime lord, TT, played by Mithun Chakraborty, twitches his utterly fake moustache and does nothing except squandering around while throwing trashy dialogues.

If you can even take the vileness of the ‘so-called-acting’ and the laughably bad script, action masala does no good to your mood. The fighting sequences are so absurd and illogical that you just want to shield your eyes and wait for the torture to pass through. Well, the other option is to leave the hall, which even saves you from the crass seeties (whistles) and hootings!

Strangely, the music given by the co-producer, Himesh Reshammiya, somehow redeems the movie. Though it is thoroughly nasal and contains some of the most horrible lyrics you have ever come across, it does rescue Khiladi 786 from its non-coherent plotline and puke inducing action sequences.

Khiladi 786 is so awful in its execution that even awfulness would have been ashamed. With macho stupidity and horrendously clueless acting from its cast, it is an achievement in pretentiousness!

Rating:  1 / 5

(first published in |  )

Thursday, 6 December 2012

The Tree Of Life

It stood in front of him, with all its sprawling branches and enchanting beauty. The Tree Of Life! He wondered about all those mythologies, the folktales and the legends that were lost in the layers of time. But here, the world, in all its essence had come to a pause. It felt like time and space have ceased to exist. He took a step towards it, crunching the leaves below his feet. Then another and another and another!

The prophet’s words echoed in his ears as the tree now seemed within palm’s reach. The connotation had been sublimed to comprehensible depths and he had found his purpose in this creation; to search for the element that connects the underworld and the heavens, the tree that governs life. The voracious desire was to drink from the sap of the tree. The prospects of everlasting youth and eternal life reeled in front of his eyelids like a shadow dancing against a dead wall.

He tiptoed towards his Sun, the tree, like a devotee approaching his deity. He gaped at its enormity, the magnitude of the creation, as if the whole universe was caged within the tree. Perhaps, the tree itself, along with its withered branches and brown leaves, was the universe! Vast, immeasurable, interminable, ever escalating and ever expanding!

Reflecting at the complexity of its gargantuan height, he somehow, felt complete. Each of its branches intertwined with another, a stem losing itself in a leaf, a bud disappearing into a flower. The bark supported the weight of the tree, the weight of the cosmos; with its head reaching to paradise and the roots grounding towards an abyss.

Nirvana was attained in that very moment and was shattered in another as the insatiable lust for the liberation from sufferings, gripped him. Inside the depth of his cold soul, he knew that these divine conjurers; pain and death, are here to be eliminated from the mankind.

After scraping the façade of the tree, he bent down as the liquid gratified his lips, caressing the rims gently. The cosmos shifted, the stars died around him and were born again. He perceived the pattern between the interlinking of the lives of each and every individual, as marked by the branches of the tree. His feet got lifted in the air as he saw a spiral of Energy hovering in the interstellar. Life, death, hope, freedom, pain and happiness; the translucent colors of existence now had a deeper meaning. He saw the order. He saw Our Master. Gradually, his flesh amalgamated with the bark and became one. He was then, consumed by the Tree of Life.

(first published in |

Saturday, 1 December 2012

[Movie Review] Talaash: Nothing Is What It Seems Like

Cast: Aamir Khan, Rani Mukerji, Kareena Kapoor
Director:  Reema Kagti
Writer: Zoya Akhtar, Anurag Kashyap

Talaash is a poignant study of human pains when confronted with a loss. It contains an undercurrent of sentimental plots flowing betwixt its dexterous layers of suspense. To state a point, it is a nothing short of a triumph in mood setting and a silver lining for atmosphere driven cinema. But, the gloomy side of this coin is that it never reaches the heights its wings are capable of.

To sum the story without any spoilers, it is a salad of a distressed cop, a peculiar high profile murder mystery transpiring under inexplicable circumstances and coping with a monumental loss with a topping of glamour and suspense. If this seems less, we have an extra-marital affair and child issues to keep our plates full.

The spellbinding take on the murder, the livelihood of small thugs and some supernatural element peppered, makes it one dish to relish! Right from the wicked underbelly of Mumbai highlighted by the obscure neon lights to the tense screenplay, Reema Kagti, the director, creates an atmosphere which is hard to shake off. The movie starts slowly, but by the time you are munching away your corns, it had sunk its teeth deep inside your skin; then comes the second half with its incessant chills and beautiful imagery to blow you off the hook. 

But Alas! The party is short lived as the suspense is hampered by a hogwash climax which indulges in stereotyped spoon feeding of the events to the audience. The problem also lies in the sluggishness of the movie which borders on the brink of numbness. Yes, such a pace is needed to set the atmosphere right, but keeping a balance between the silence and the tight writing is mandatory to pull off a riveting thriller.

Apart from the skies and waters of Talaash, it is the charismatic acting of Aamir Khan that keeps the reel in taut position. His intensity of gaze and the plain black emotions upon his face are enough to relate with anybody upon which a tragedy had been incurred. He simply walks, frame by frame, chipping in a perfect combination of elegance and sentiments entwined by simplicity of a common man. Kareena Kapoor shines admirably in her glamorous role while Rani Mukerji, sans makeup, gives us a brilliant performance of a wretched wife in a distorted marriage.

Talaash is not everybody’s cup of tea, but those who savor a cerebral, intellectual ride should not skip it. Recommended!

Rating: 3.5 / 5

(first published in | )

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

[Movie Review] Jab Tak Hai Jaan: All Hail The Badshah!

Cast: Shahrukh Khan, Anushka Sharma, Katrina Kaif

Director: Yash Chopra

Runtime: 181 Minutes

Voila! Slowly he walked towards his love with smiling eyes beaded on his face and in that very moment it strikes you why this man is known as King Khan. Drop your armors for here is Shahrukh Khan doing what he does best, Romance!

Jab Tak Hai Jaan is a sprawling love affair spanning over a decade having the splendiferous King Khan at its center and a sure handed direction by the master storyteller, Yash Chopra sahib! It is indeed a poetic dream come true with its canvas being flushed with sumptuous imageries of London and jaw dropping splendors of the valleys in Kashmir and Ladakh.

From far off, JTHJ may feel like yet another run-of-the-mill-romance-flick. On scraping the shiny surface, you will find a heartfelt account of passionate sentiments and eternal love that is tying people in a knot which is unbreakable even by the highest forces existing in this realm!

 It follows the arc of Major Samar Anand, who heads the Bomb Defusal Squad for the Indian Army and is proclaimed as ‘The Man Who Cannot Die’. Enters a dreamer; the effervescent Akira Rai (Anushka Sharma), who walks over a personal diary of our soldier. Roll back to flashback and we are introduced to the wounded love affair of the same man to an exceptionally rich mademoiselle Meera (Katrina Kaif), the Pari floating on the surface of snow. The screenplay then focuses on these three characters and their undying spirit of loving one another till the borders of sanity.

Such intricacies and such densities of emotional heights can only be achieved by someone who has seen love at its very core. Yash Chopra sahib was one such individual and was a force of nature that will resonate his love for cinema in the walls of cine-fraternity for a long time to come.  Ain’t he a genius? The sumptuous background wrapped around by the elegiac lines penned by Gulzar; Aren’t these the fundamental ingredients of a grand love story? The chords are pulled off at the right moments to strike a perfect balance between unconditional love and tragedies that go with it. The direction of JTHJ, in one word is, awe-inspiring!

Are we talking about giving a depth to the character? Who can accomplish that in a more profound manner than Shahrukh Khan! If Yash Raj can melt hearts, Shahrukh Khan can win them over by just a mere smile. He slips himself in the shoes of Samar to give us an unparalleled performance that thrives as the soul of JTHJ.

Anushka Sharma gave her best performance till date. Amidst such heavy names, she garners appreciation as the new-age-girl, who’s hesitant in falling in love with an already wounded man. Such was the energy and such was the charisma of her that she totally owned the screen whenever she made an appearance.

Well, its time people take this lady seriously. Katrina Kaif is now truly in the house with the other biggies. Carrying at once, both contemporary and retro feel, she touches one’s heart with ease.

When such majestic people are at work, the magic rarely fails. But, what went wrong with JTHJ is its runtime. Clocking around 3 hours, it feels cumbersome at times as some tête-à-têtes seem fruitless. The pacing, especially in the mid of first and second halves, lagged intolerably. Music, by A.R. Rahman, does not blows one off the hanger, but still, keeps one hooked on to the proceedings.

JTHJ recalls an earlier era when movies moved people, rather than manipulate them; and when the innocence superseded craft. A baggage full of towering performances, sweeping vistas, impeccable direction and a gigantic heart at its core, JTHJ is a beautiful ode to the essence of life.

(First Published in ; )

Rating:  ****

Saturday, 10 November 2012

[Movie Review] Stolen: A Mammoth Failure!

Cast: Nicolas Cage, Josh Lucas, Malin Akerman, Danny Huston.

Director: Simon West

Runtime: 1 hour and 36 minutes

Blimey! Cage’s back, the goons are back and guess what, the daughter of our fella is kidnapped by an age old comrade. Sounds familiar, right? If you have seen Taken, the recent Taken 2 or Ransom, there shouldn’t be any reason to squander your time in the theatre until and unless you are one of those guys who goes gaga over Nicolas Cage.

Will Montgomery (Nicolas Cage), an ex con and a distressed father finds out that he has to rescue his daughter from a buddy turned baddy by paying $10 million in 12 hours. Guess what? Our man is up to it. Rest what follows is the usual recipe swirled and whirled in ways you would definitely not like to watch again.

What’s wrong with Stolen? To start with, it has an extremely clumsy and derivative storyline. It stinks of other formula ridden movies which end up having the same fate as that of Stolen. The aerial shots, the bank robberies and the car chases leave as little as no effects as the movie clothed up by a sordid writing leaves the viewer disgruntled.

Stolen boasts of three different genres, that is; action, thriller and drama, but to the movie-goers horror, not one of them reaches to the height that would even make it a tolerable affair. 
The action is a drunken man’s job containing the most unoriginal sequences you would have seen in your recent times! Those car chases, seriously? Is this the best they can do? And well, one should not forget the FBI which was hovering over Cage as if they had no other work to do!

It is indeed true that director Simon West got all his ingredients wrong this time, but, there is some relief lurking in the shadows of those dull FBI cubicles. Guess who’s the caped crusader saving the horror for us? Bingo, Nicolas Cage! He might have lost that grip he earlier had, but still, he has one hell of a screen presence. Surprise also comes in the face of Danny Huston, the FBI agent, who cracks some chirpy one-liners to make an odd coupe laugh somewhere in the theatre. Although, Vincent (Josh Lucas), ‘the-old-friend-turned-villain’ looked like one complete lunatic on a run from asylum.

Positives: Nicolas Cage!
Negatives: Everything else. 

Stolen is a vile piece of trash and a blot on action movie’s timeline. Disappointing!

Rating: 1/5

(First pubished in ; )

Sunday, 4 November 2012

[Movie Review] 1920: Evil Returns - Fizzed Out!

Actor: Aftab Shivdasani, Tia Bajpai, Vidya Malvade, Sagar Saikia
Director: Bhushan Patel
Writer: Vikram Bhatt

What would it feel like to go through two hours of cinema which ultimately succumbs to the same shades of stereotypes that this industry has suffered for many years? What would it feel like to see a movie in which the effects become tacky and are ultimately unable to run a shiver up your spine? What would it feel like to see a horror movie that has taken its spooky sequences as unashamedly as possible from cult biggies like ‘The Exorcist’ which released back in 1973? If you have no clue about what all things I have mentioned above, well, go and watch 1920: Evil Returns.

Promise! That’s what was given to us in the first hour of the movie. A mystery was there to unveil itself and what should have been built for a gripping second half, wobbles on its knees and falls on ground. A renowned but unhappy poet Jaidev (Aftab Shivdasani), in search of muse, finds a lady (Tia Bajpai) by the shore of a lake. The female has lost her memory and thus a love affair spins between the two distressed loners. Alas! An evil spirit dooms the girl, and our hero decides to be the man of the hour. Wait! That is just not the end of the story. It also has a handful of love letters thrown around, blind love affairs, revenge served cold and confessions.

One must be wondering about the thing that clicked in favor of 1920: Evil Returns. The answer is its breathtaking cinematography which captured the country side of England in a lush and opulent manner. Right from the chilly mist to the horse carts and to the gorgeously shot mansion sequences; all of them hit correct notes as the movie came alive on the screen.

One must complement Chirantan Bhatt for giving a breath to the love story with sumptuous tracks that gave an air to the proceedings. An eerie background score also created a chilly ambience which supported the cause of the director, but, in some of the instances, it was way too loud and noisy to serve its purpose.

Performance wise, to say the least, Aftab Shivdasani ended up being an ever-so-clueless guy carrying a poker face all around the movie. I must say that he tried, but with not-so-good results. Tia Bajpai chipped in beautifully for the scenes in which she was possessed by the demon. Vidya Malvade, who played Jaidev’s sister, seemed uncertain of her act.

1920: Evil Returns churned its material in the wrong fashion. The spookiness and the chills gave its way for ho-hum scares and bookish techniques to induce chills, which took the fizz out of this foggy affair. Only recommended if you are one die-hard fan of horror-genre!

Rating: **

(First Published in ; )

Saturday, 27 October 2012

[Movie Review] Cloud Atlas: Indeed, Everything Is Connected

Cast: Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugo Weaving, Jim Broadbent, Jim Sturgess

Directors: Andy Wachaowski, Lana Wachaowski, Tom Tykwer

Genre: Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi

“Fear, belief and love are the phenomenon that determines the courses of our lives. These forces begin long before we are born and continue even after we perish.” Cloud Atlas, based on a novel by David Mitchell, meditates around this notion to give a bizarre piece of cinema that is destined to generate polarizing views from the viewers. You may either hate it, or you may find yourself head over heels in love with it!

Cloud Atlas is a daringly original piece of cinema that is so ambitious in its shot that it can even make ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ go limp on its knees. The movie follows an arc of six stories sprawling over centuries of mankind and comments on how each and every choice we make have repercussions that resonate forever in the valleys of lives of those who surround us. Through those brilliantly portrayed stories, it is shown that our lives are not just our own. I quote from the movie, “We are bound to others, past and present; and by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future.”

It took three maverick directors to stage this enormous movie that redefines genres. The passion, with which the theme of reincarnation is handled by the trio, is the driving force behind this awe-inspiring piece of cinema. Cloud Atlas elevates on its surface of philosophy and hits consecutive home runs with the climax of each and every story. As everything falls into the canvas, one is surprised at the enormity of the space these three individuals yearned to color on the screen.

Tom Hanks, take a bow! The wisdom carried by his eyes at the end sequence was enough to expose the level of grandiose this man has reached in his career. Halle Berry, Hugo Weaving and the rest of the ensemble casts raises the platform of story-telling into dizzying dimensions. Terrific makeup all around the screen ensures that the various personas are never the same, yet never ever different.

The sole problem of Cloud Atlas lies in its emotional quotient. When the audience is setting all the pieces of this puzzle in the desired manner, somehow, the emotive sequences are lost in the mist. Maybe, just maybe, the complexity of a storyline and the poignant parts do not go hand in hand with each other.

To sum the parts, Cloud Atlas is a daring and audacious attempt that has the power to change preconceived notions and cultivate debates among your fellow cine-nuts. It may test your patience, but the one who stays with it, will be rewarded generously. It is, in the end, a cinematic achievement.

Rating: 4/5

Thursday, 25 October 2012

God- The Omnipresent

If you seek wisdom, past contains it. If you seek knowledge, present holds it. If you seek truth, traverse the vales of eyes. If you seek admiration, a devotee has it for his deity and if you seek God, He lies within you.

For centuries, we have wandered across the globe, in manner to attain completion with oneself. For one doesn’t know that in continuum to find oneself, one must be lost completely. It is a well-known saying that in order to witness heaven, one must witness hell within himself.

I believe that some people are gifted, in a mystical sense. They have premonitions, omens and I certainly believe that they converse with some higher energy. They are seers, the future bearers or the messiahs sent to us for our salvation. We come across such liberators and then, out of the blues, discard them for being a veil over the simplistic truths carried by our primeval traditions.

These liberators are the individuals that have attained that level of oneness with themselves and the nature. They act eccentric for they have seen the wild play and have even studied the trajectory of a sparrow. The secret has been opened to them and they are the true masters of their own self. We, on the other hand, owned by our earthly possession are afraid of such minds; as to us, they are the abstracts of nature. We misjudge beauty for beast and consider them possessed by the malevolent.

We never see the sun in the sky and blame the clouds for hiding the eternal radiator of light. These people, liberators I call them, are the ones that are bridging the gap between the Higher Energy and the humankind. We must stop considering these gifts as peculiar curses and learn to appreciate this gambit of God. These people carry no vagueness and such messiahs’ lies within each and every persona. Only when we escalate from our possessions, we will see His canvas and can be connected to our inner self and become the beholders of light.

When such a day would come that we learn to admire that life exists in the minutest of happenings around us, shall we feel the omnipresent. God lives in a smile, in a teardrop, in the rustling of winds and even in the songs of a swan bird. For when we stop searching for Him, can only He be found!

(First Published In ; )

(Also published in : ; )

Sunday, 21 October 2012

[Movie Review] Student of the Year: Same Old Wine in New Bottle

Cast: Varun Dhawan, Siddharth Malhotra, Alia Bhatt, Ronit Roy, Rishi   Kapoor
Director: Karan Johar

Love, friendship, jealousy, betrayal, ambitions and blah and blah! Student of the Year is one mashup of feelings that seems intangible at first, but is ultimately driven to its home by the charm of the veteran director, Karan Johar. Yeah, it often feels aimless, sometimes becomes too silly to be taken seriously, but then it provides one thing that we always have an apetite for, and that too in ample dosage, Entertainment!

The Richie Rich dude, Rohan (Varun Dhawan) meets the innocent eyed attitude queen, Shanaya Singhania (Alia Bhatt) and then the queen bumps into another guy, Abhimanyu (Siddharth Malhotra) and, then and there, comes the baap of all glitches entwined with relationships and lovey-dovey stuffs, Complications! Rewind a bit and cover this all up in a background of the fiction fantasy school and a coveted trophy to die for, you’ll get what Student of the Year is all about.

Every single frame carries the trademark Johar stamp. Right from the lush aesthetics and the designer clothes to the discos and even the narrative of the movie, conveyed of the authority that the man behind the camera has on his acts. He manages to extract the best from his cast and crew, be it the cinematographer or the three debutants, who shine in their individual roles and definitely have a successful road ahead of them.

It may be that the debutants end up as the scene steelers, but it is Rishi Kapoor, Dean of the St.Teresa Institution, who gives another masterful and heart-warming performance. He is indeed, a class apart! Barring a few old jelly bellys, the music by Vishal-Shekhar, sets the tempo right for the events unfurling on the screen.

Karan Johar may have hit gold in many departments, but it is the lame script of the movie that is its arch enemy. Thousands of times the formula of a triangle had been rehashed in Bollywood and Student of the Year, despite of all its new-age mantra, falls prey to the repetitiveness. Moreover, what was the fuss with all those plastic emotions injected in between? Did they even mean to induce a tear in the audience’s eyes? Well, if they did, then the team of SOTY failed and that too in a gigantic proportions!

All hail the splendid cast and the gifted director, Karan Johar for making Student of the Year entertaining, pop and pulpy to the hilt. It is the same old wine but served in a new bottle and that too, KJO style!

Rating: ***

Image Courtesy:

(First published in ; )

Friday, 5 October 2012

My Fall

My core scorched with the blaze of agony,
An era of betrayal,
An eon of catastrophes.

The stars‘ve guided me to this massacre,
This sunset of being,
This nightfall of mirages.

Moon showered its wicked blessings,
Witnessing my draining fall.
Destiny is my stabber,
Fate is the conspirator,
And I? I am the wretched sufferer.

The two comrades have carried out His commands,
He adjourned me as the slaughtered animal.
And He? He is the vindictive Demon, the soul crusher.
Doomed and annihilated,
I now await the freedom of death.

I collapsed on my knees,
Hands spread-eagled,
Looming for the completion of misfortunes.
My interiors became icy-cold,
As I smother myself to an eternal existence.

(Photo Credits: Adarsh Sundaresh)
(Published in:

Friday, 28 September 2012

The Bleak Silver Lining

For once I ask, who are we? Trademarked ruins or a transgressed generation serving as a monolith? With neither sense, nor purpose of enlightenment, why do we meander around the walls of idiosyncrasy?

With silence we reproach from insides, never raising our voices louder than a childish whisper. Just a murmur and we suffice to the sufferings. We subject our wills to be demolished by the storms of suicidal society norms. Similar to a doomed wasp within a candle area, we annihilate ourselves. Self-destruction is what we are talking here!

Us, the would-be-achievers, the Lennon-dreamers we are called, wait! I want to rest all your misconceptions! Give or take a person, we are a mistreated and vile trash. Nothing more than a single insignificant thread in a despicable yarn of threads. We search for our degenerate paradises, deep in our carcinogenic day dreams, and believe that a pseudo world of beauties exist beyond the horizon.

Progressive are those who have bedded solitude in this lamenting wilderness of waste. Rest of us, damned! Owned! Possessed by our own lifestyle, haunted by our own misdoings! We live in a diabolical sea of misshapen dreams and gruesome scars, hiding our battered souls for the crystal perfect world would break if they (read society) know our insides.

Wake up! There are no Lennon’s and no Gandhi’s breathing amongst us. A refuse was what we were, an acceptance is what we will be. The monoliths would soon walk for humanity would not be tainted by one meaty headed generation. Dreamy cages and alternate realities are meant to be stapled. Aim for the stars, only then we will rise from the depths of shallowness and would fall on the Earth. Look beyond the horizons, beyond hells and heavens and look beyond the cauldron of truths and lies. For, what you seek is what you get!

(First Published In

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Sunday, 23 September 2012

[Movie Review] Moonrise Kingdom: An Eccentric Tale of Innocence

Cast: Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Bruce Willis, Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward, Frances McDormand, Tilda SwintonDirector: Wes Anderson

How hard it is to summarize life in mere happiness or sadness? Is it challenging to be sane when the times and circumstances are against you? Moonrise Kingdom delves upon the lines of bizarreness and envelops the calmness of the sea, the splashing of storms, the blues and the bliss into a feature film which is directed unconventionally by Wes Anderson. 

Two sweet lings, lovers aged 12 years, flee together from their homes / camps, into wildings and experience a fascinating adventure hidden under the brows of the kingdom they dwelled in. Sam (Jared Gilman) is emotionally disturbed for he’s an orphan at such ripe age. The female protagonist, Suzy’s (Kara Hayward) parents consider her as a misfit and troubled child, which molds her into someone who is partly depressed and partly rebellious. The odd love blooms between the two as things around them gets whacky, courtesy to the storm erupting from the waters.

This year’s opener in Cannes starts out gorgeously with sepia soaked period frames and delicate love gestures sprawling across the canvas with utter beautiful imagery. Heartfelt emotions and innocence gets seized in the camera when our duo tries their first French kiss on the shores of a sea while the lad spits and says, “I’ve got sand in my mouth”. This is one such couple that rises above clichés and ponders upon the most vital decisions of life while chewing a gum.

With such ambitions and promises, the potential of the subject often feels untapped. The scope of the movie is humongous but due to its run time (93 minutes), the characters never get deeply etched and nor the message sounds as profound as it should have been. Edward Norton, as the camp leader, feels under used and the character development seems almost negligible.

The peculiar music score and the stunning acting of the cast, especially by the pair, set the standards playfully right for this spirited retro drama. The cartoon images in between distract a bit, but then, what’s an Anderson movie without such nuisances spilled on the screen!

Audacious, melancholic and sugary at the same time, Moonrise Kingdom is a heartfelt piece of cinema that works its charm as slowly as the waves that triumph upon the eccentric shores of this ‘Kingdom’. Enchanting and charismatic in equal proportions!

Rating: 3.5 / 5

Monday, 17 September 2012

[Movie Review] Barfi! : The Essence Of Love

Gasp! Beauty lies within, not on the façade and who can discern this element better than Anurag Basu, the heart and soul of the gorgeous and surreal Burfi! Oozing with an assortment of charm and sweetness, Barfi comes as a drizzle over barren lands of love stories in our recent memory, quenching the thirsts of every die-hard romantic out there!

Leave behind those Dabang’ish’ ordeals! For here comes a deaf and dumb bloke with his heart clinging on his sleeve (literally!), to win you over and to make you fall in love with the silver screen like never before. It is the towering and unparalleled performance by Ranbir Kapoor, who plays Barfi and transforms this movie into something irresistibly ‘aww’-inspiring and dreamlike. Never once he feels superfluous, neither once does the sentiments become too heavy on his appearance. Picture perfect smile weds genuine eyes as he whispers love without even stirring his lips.

Only when you thought that the ‘Kapoor’ storm was enough to blow you off, there arrives the autistic lassie, Jhilmil (Priyanka Chopra), to transport the chronicles into virtually magical level of innocence and purity. Only if the camera would not have glued to her face (Damn! It was suffocating), she would have been riper and all the more translucent in her persona. Nonetheless, she was a darling in her portrayal which would satisfy even the hard-bent critics of her works.

Meanwhile, does anybody remember Hugo? Bingo! It is the dreamy escapade by Martin Scorsese which came back last year. Err... Somehow, I am unable to forgo the numerous smiles I saw while leaving the theatre and a lot is owed to the sumptuous canvas of Barfi which resembles the same air as seen in Hugo. Gorgeous imagery and terrific aesthetics elevates the scenes one after another as the art-direction swirls and whirls in mists on the opus. Colors breathe into life as our protagonists fall for each other in the dazzling locations of Darjeeling and Calcutta (Not Kolkata!).

Is the smoldering pair of Barfi and Jhilmil not enough? Well, well, another wonder awaits you. Yeah! You guessed it right! It is Illeana D’Cruz, the newcomer, who looks painstakingly exquisite as Shruti and imparts an air of elegance to her character. With small bindi on her forehead, she is the perfect concubine one can desire for.

Flaws, well, very few. The uneven editing may spice up someone’s experience but it may even act as a boulder for others. The script, though well served, does not have enough zing to keep one truly contented yet the direction is delicious enough to carry the charms home.

Barfi is a silent song to the power of love and cinema. Through its silent lips, volumes of happiness and warmth are spoken. A pleasure for the eyes, Barfi in its truest sense, is life-affirming. Go and search the essence of love all over again!

Rating: ****

Monday, 27 August 2012

The Ghosts Of The Past

Chapter 3: Honor Above All

Cold winds rustled through the bars of King’s windowpane. He scraped through the floor, as swiftly as his weary legs could carry him, to seal the shutters. Upon reaching the glass he gaped at the long arrays of mountains covered with snow. The mist left lucid heads of droplets which marred his views of the hillside road leading to the black castle. A black stature among winds of white, the castle stood tall with its roots spreading deep underground. “Honored yet corroded from within”, the King said to himself. Disgusted, he turned away from the glass. “Bastards are they!! Curs I have bred and raised”, the King shouted to nobody. His eyes found to the rotten apple that lied on the table, waiting to be eaten. With a taste of contempt, he yelled for his servant, “A fresh apple is what I wish. Fetch me one, or a pike is awaiting your head”. The servant scrambled frantically as he reached the King’s chamber. He scooped up the trashed apple and was about to leave when the King bellowed, “Convey to all the noblemen and lords of the kingdom, their King desire a council gathering before nightfall”.

The servant nodded in hushed agreement and not a syllable escaped from his lips as he hurried outside the chambers. The King stole a glance back at the funeral pyre. Ravens, black as death itself, sat atop his younger son’s carcass. Blood boiled in his veins as the fury blurted out of his mouth. “Damned sons I have raised. Must’ve been bastards for my seed is as strong as these castle pillars. Brother slaying brother, in broad daylights. Where has their self-esteem gone, blown to these northern winds?? Eunuchs I have raised.”

He descended from the stairs of his chambers. His silk cloak draped the floor beneath his jewel laced body as he made way for the main hall. A thousand times he had mused over his verdict, but no stone could bulge the predicament once given by the King. He entered the council as each and every congressman stood and bowed to him. Gracefully, he sat down on his throne.

“His Grace”
, a shaky voice spoke from the horde of people, “the council expects your justice”. A sudden upsurge of grief passed over the King as the resentment was replaced by agony. He felt desolated in the assembly as he found himself searching for his only blood that remains, Mathilda. The heir of the crown was missing from the congress. With eyes heavy and a heart sans of any love, he started the ordeal.

“I stand before this assembly as the King of the empire “, his voice echoed across the painted walls of the great hall. “A sin had been committed by one of my bloods and a grave one at that. Follies! Betrayals and serpents sneak in the shades of this realm”. He raised his hand, shaking, pointing to his Gods, “They are the Creators and the slaughter took place under their eyelids”. He beheld the gathering seated at their places, “I swore upon the Gods, Justice would be served and the sinner would be beheaded in front of the gathering itself”. 

The council gasped and a sudden rush of inhalation escaped everybody’s mouth. Murmurs exploded as the judgment was passed. “S-I-L-E-N-C-E”, the King roared. With a heart dense of emotions, the King commanded a swarm of swordsman to seek his vanished son and to drag him back into the realm. “The sword awaits the head of the warrior”, breathed the honorable King.

[To Be Continued...]

Saturday, 25 August 2012

The Ghosts Of The Past

Chapter 2: Becoming One with Shadows

The princess gazed mutely at the funeral pyre. Jet black ashes were scattered obscenely in the air. Ravens were feeding upon the half charred body of her younger brother. With a mind numbed from grief, her thoughts went to her elder brother. He was hailed as ‘The Warrior’ among the natives. “A warrior who slayed his blood brother”, thought Mathilda, the princess. She saw her shadow forming and shattering on the cremation grounds. She recalled the healer’s words, “The shadows are the dwelling lands of devils existing within us”. She shuddered, and thought about the evil-spirits that might have danced in her brother’s head when he massacred his own blood. With a last glance at the bonfire of dead, she mounted her horse, and rode to her forlorn castle.

She shuffled by a couple of inns and many a pasture. The natives pointed at her animatedly, dropping their farm wagons, wherever she went. She crossed the kingdom swiftly and the enormous citadel came into her eyeshot. The dark clouds loomed ominously above the three towers of the castle. A serpentine was shadowed on the orchards and grounds where once Mathilda found amusement with her beloved brothers. “Omens”, she whispered. The healer had looked in his hazy glass sphere and had already warned her of the fiend that had attached itself with the crown, way before her brothers became one with shadows. “Omens and Sorcery are beyond the acceptance of the folks of this realm, but one can’t overlook their existence”, her heart whispered.

The princess entered the fortress through a gigantic iron gate, trotting on her mare. Two swordsmen bowed to Mathilda as she jumped gracefully from her horse. Rather than approaching the council, she made way for the holy shrine of their kingdom. “Lord Father can wait, The Old Gods await no common men”, she remembered her teachings from the adolescent days.

The natives regarded the Shrine as the North Pole of their lives, a star that shines the brightest during a night sky. Mathilda walked in slowly, absorbing the radiance of the deity that stood 10 feet tall in front of her. She approached her Goddess elegantly and stooped down in front of her feet. The sparkle from a chandelier, hung from the roof, illuminated her shadow in the room. With the betrayal and bloodshed reeling inside her mind time and again, she comforted herself as she must pray for the living.

The dead have found their boulevards, it is the living that must be brought back to their predestined paths”, she said it aloud, to her Goddess. She bowed her head as the past zoomed in front of her eyes. Crooked as the hind legs of a cur, her younger brother betrayed his blood for the treacherous crown, a crown which he did not deserve. A crown which righteously should have rested upon the brows of her elder brother, the warrior, was snatched under moonlight. What occurred after that will be cited in every bloody leaves of history which an infant will read and lords will talk off. Fratricide and deceit was the blade of a resentful knife that was shoved into her younger brother’s belly and the sinner had fled the kingdom into an exile far away from these appalling lands.

Shadows killed first of my brothers, and gloom drove away the other into a world of blackness. Ravens feeding upon the dead are an omen of things to come. Shadows are greyer than ever and are longer than the graves stretch. Your light is what we require in hearts where despair has sunk in. I do not ask for the souls that have passed, but for the humanities that are living in this scorching realm. Free them of their sins and a new sphere awaits these redeemers”, her heart whispered to her Goddess, as she got up and left the shrine. “Redemption is what one desires to rise from the ashes”. 

[To Be Continued...]

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

The Ghosts Of The Past

Part 1

The horse galloped across the lands.  Bridges, meadows and inns went by in a blur, disappearing as swiftly as they were appearing. The warrior, cladded in the deepest shade of black was mounted upon the stallion. His silver coat of armor was wrapped rigidly across his bare chest. The shine upon being confronted by the consistent sword slashes was tarnished at the ends. He smelled of horses, raw yet alluring. The scent was infused in the wind, leaving tales of sacrifices and sufferings wherever he went. His eyes were teary. “I’d be lost if I look back”, he told himself. Without giving a further ado, the rider rode on.

He lost track of time. The sky turned a bitter shade of grey. Resentment grew inside him as he forced his ride forwards. The pastures around him changed colors and swayed in winds as he rode past them. He could feel the exhausted heart of his horse, pumping thick blood against his thighs. “I’d be lost if I stop, I must go on”, he muttered to the surroundings. The green of grass, once comforting to his eyes back in homelands, felt repulsive. He had come eons away from his lands, yet the loathing burnt inside him, like a moth around a candle, slowly burning to its untimely death.

Tragedies have a tongue for speaking of themselves while the glories seldom express their worth. The warrior’s scent spoke of such dark and ominous past, one which no men should ever endure. A star crossed love affair, bloodshed and a betrayal so toxic that his scent carries traces of its poison. “I’d be doomed if I contemplate over bygones”, he whispered to his horse, his only mate left in the desolate kingdom. The warrior kicked his horse and he sprang back to life, as if he understood his master’s needs. He rode his stallion for what seemed like centuries.

The black rider galloped for eras at a stretch, muttering to himself, murmuring to surroundings. The battle that waged inside him knew no ending. It was eating him from within, consuming him from the insides. He forced his thoughts to the everlasting wind, tried to give them wings, but a man can never fly away from his own scent.

The night surrounded him. The cold started to creep up his spine. The night air slashed his face, numbing the surface. He wore his helm, protecting his façade from the frost. Small flakes of white rested upon his shoulders, which already carried burdens of his destined fate. He rode over deserts of snow, lifeless, a dead walking in a carnival of nature.

The warrior came to a halt near a waterfall. Dew had been placed strategically over the grass beside the pond. The water droplets of the fall seemed like series of pearls from a necklace worn by a lady back from his homelands. He yearned to embrace his beloved sister, his Sun in the dark clouds. Hatred took over as the realism loomed in. He removed his helm, took off his clothes and entered the icy waters.

He went down and touched the bottoms of the shallow pond. He hung inside the water, an attempt to drown himself, to cease his sufferings. He took a deep breath as water came rushing inside his nostrils, satiating his lungs. A warrior, who was unimaginable to slain in battlefields, gave up the war of his being as darkness wrapped him. The mare neighed above as the ripples from the waters became violent at first, and then, died away into nothingness.

[To Be Continued..]

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

The Dance Of Love

She walked in slowly. She was bathed in black satin, complementing the blushing red canvas of the café.  Our eyes met and the moment was etched to the memories. We didn’t dare to blink, for it would blot the perfection. She approached the table where I was awaiting her arrival, counting my breaths. She sat down across me, self-assured, graceful in her motions.

The rain splattered on the dusty windowpane adjacent to the table. The sky carried a tinge of flames, indicating to a fierce newborn love, sprouting in the valleys unknown. Driving my eyes away from the sumptuous beauty outside the café, I whispered greetings to the lady. She reciprocated. I looked over her shoulder, to the mirror on the wall against her. It was silvery; shining and suffused by her presence. I traced the outlines of her velvety locks in the mirror, intermingling together; they were a web of exquisiteness.

Cravings drive men to achieve the unattainable. The delicacy of the moment entranced me. I slid my hand across the table, and held her soft, tender hands. A gesture of longing, it was a wave of love.  The heartbeat of shyness, flutter of kohl eyelids and the throbbing rhythm of beast trapped inside my chest, I knew that flaming stars had draped my night sky with shades of artistry.

Soaked by her elegance, I was still in awe. The smoke from the candle, swirling above our table fashioned a mist. The whole moment was hung somewhere in time, immovable, delicate yet strong. I stared in her eyes, an epitome of expressions. My eyes sketched her face and rested over her lips. Her smile was shimmering slowly over the hazy landscape. A mystic sensation had fallen over her appearance, a concealed passion, blazing as a searing white flame.

Words hide desires but sentiments never lie. The meet seemed eternal; resonating a zenith of emotions. The sky now wore a color of orange and the dusk set in. Emotions wedded content. The time had finally come to part ways. With an everlasting promise to meet again, we went down the separate roads. The dance ended. 

(first published in

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Love in Paradise

I’m just a lover,
Shimmering like an evanescent night moon.
Hovering on the brim of my beloved’s eye,
Akin delicate ashes from a burnt paper bird,
In a lone, sunlit room.

I’m just a lover,
Whose romance been enkindled by the Sun.
Lost in the winter walk of my love amidst the snow in a bower,
Where the feathery fragrance of her skin,
Dissolve in the beautiful wind.

I’m just a lover,
Ruminating o’er the amber lit eyes of my love.
Spinning webs of everlasting existence,
Lying arm in arm under the moonless sky,
With the stars lighting our boulevard to eternity.

Who am I but a lover,
Sighing like a withered furnace.
Falling upon love in the moist clouds,
Where the dew from the eyelashes of my love,
Wet the ocean of my heart.

(first published in

Saturday, 21 July 2012

The Dark Knight Rises: Boom, Bang, Legend Ends

Cast: Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy, Michael Caine, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, Marion Cotillard

Director: Christopher Nolan

I quote a line penned by Stephen King, “Fear can hold you prisoner. Hope can set you free.” The maverick director, Christopher Nolan takes this notion and spins it around a spellbinding tale of agony and valor to give us the colossally awaited movie of this year, The Dark Knight Rises.

Eight lengthy and rubbery years had gone by since the last time our craped crusader donned the batsuit to save Gotham from the hand (read mind) of the devil in disguise, Joker. The consequences of the night when Harvey Dent died still echoes in the heart of Gotham as well as Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale), who has a wounded soul, tattered physique and shattered hope. Even though Wayne is simply not geared up, The Batman has to rise to the mammoth stage as the misunderstood hero and a silent guardian of Gothamites to protect the city from its ferocious underbelly and ultimately, the wicked grandpa of anarchy, Bane.

It takes precisely half an hour for the buildup and characterization to seep in, after that, no stone is left unturned to make this ambitious affair as bombastic and sizzling as imaginable. With a brilliant plot, exquisite twists and surreal emotional depth, The Dark Knight Rises is the perfect blend of action and drama a diehard movie fanatic hungers for.

To talk of the director, Christopher Nolan is a non-conformist through and through. Safe play is not his forte. He weaves an intricate plot which reels you gasping for breath, whenever a stroke is played by the genius filmmaker. One can just sit back and awe over the mesmerizing storytelling while the magician is working on the platform. Only if the scene removal committee (read editors) has been on their toes and the baddy being more lethal, this would have had the same impact ‘The Dark Knight’ had on our cerebral fluid.

To say about our baddy, Tom Hardy (Bane) has no such real scope in the acting department courtesy the mask wrapping more than half of his appearance. But damn, wasn’t he spot on with dialogue delivery! Brutal dialogues and memorable quotes set the stakes high for the final clash between the good and the evil.

Anne Hathaway (Cat-burglar) is exceedingly seductive and has a terrific screen presence. Joseph Gordon Levitt (John Blake) is as fresh as ever while Morgan Freeman (Lucius Fox) is still the massively entertaining head behind those batty gadgets. Michael Caine (Alfred) delivers a speechless performance and Marion Cotillard (Miranda Tait) justifies her role.

But, the man of the moment is Christian Bale who outshines his previous bat outings with a groundbreaking performance as the hero weighed down by inner conflicts and wrecked by tragedies.

The Dark Knight Rises comes like a hurricane and sweeps you away with its enormous theatricality and mesmerizing gallantry. Though not on par with his previous outing “The Dark Knight”, TDKR still is a dark, helluva ride. Buy a ticket, sit back and marvel as Nolan hits three back to back home runs with this flick. Applause!

Rating: 4/5

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Cocktail: Nobody Can Save Titanic From Its Own Fate

Cast: Saif Ali Khan, Deepika Padukone, Diana Penty, Boman Irani.
Genre: Romantic, Comedy, Drama.
Director: Homi Adjania

Think of a chameleon and his exquisite nature of altering colors with the environment it is placed in. Now, replace chameleon with Saif Ali Khan and the environment with the two female leads and blimey, you have just tasted the much hyped Cocktail.

Meet Gautam (Saif Ali Khan), a pants-down player who has recently shifted from New Delhi to London. Roll forward and you find him sharing an apartment with a typical rich bitch, Veronika (Deepika Padukone) and our ethical Hindustani-at-heart mademoiselle Meera (Diana Penty). Color the canvas with lush staging of London and Cape Town and yeah, put some ravishing Pritam’s numbers and this trendy dish is all set to be catered for the urban masses. But when everything was going hippy for our trio and you started believing that you’ve got a cracker flick at your hand, (Alas!) Cupid strikes, and well, things do not end up so well.

Let me rewind a bit and talk about the threesome living together under one roof. Hands down! It contains one of the funniest scenes I’ve seen in my recent memory, scenes which you actually care for taking home. The pre interval spell of Cocktail is without doubt, unabashed fun. With amusing one-liners and hilarious situations, not a glance goes towards your wristwatch or the dumb neighbor sitting beside you (in my case). It is after that, when we get our hands full of brewers, expecting a roller coaster extravaganza of raw emotions, the movie starts to groan and ends up as a whimper.

One area in which the movie soars is the acting of its cast. Saif Ali Khan, Deepika Padukone as well as the beautiful new-comer Diana Penty as they score brownie points for their roles of ever so confused lovers caught in the web of intermingling emotions. As mentioned above, music is overall brilliant and not a single track disappoints, though they do hinder the chronicles especially in the second half.  

Not taking anything away from the brilliant first half direction of Homi Adjania, it is the dumb script that punches the director straight in his guts. Gasping for his breath, he pushes in way too many gloomy songs (though dazzling they were), hero kicking bins (Who in his right brains do that??) and chasing the damsels in distress.

With equal proportions of claps and grunts sprawled across this chic background, Cocktail ends up being a rusted formula. Although, its cast draws upon many magic tricks to save this sinking ship of love versus friendship, but, who can save Titanic from its own fate!

Rating: 2.5 / 5

(first published in

Friday, 13 July 2012

[Movie Review] The Intouchables: A Testament To Humanity

Cast: Francois Cluzet, Omar Sy, Anne Ly Ne
Directors: Olivier Nakache, Eric Toledano
Genre: Comedy, Drama.

In 2010, Sanjay Leela Bhansali gave us a impressively melancholic piece of cinema, Guzaarish, a story of a quadriplegic who files a petition in court to end his life. Come 2012, two French directors, Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano give us The Intouchables, a story of a quadriplegic who hires a young man as his caretaker. The aim is not to make any comparison between Bhansali’s masterpiece and The Intouchables, but to comprehend how two movies having same backdrop but incredibly different execution, mystically tugs at your heartstrings to equal extents. To put it simply, The Intouchables is a diamond of nuanced performances and sublime circumstances.

It starts off a bit cautiously when Phillipe (Francois Cluzet), a rich bloke after a paragliding accident, which renders his left side paralyzed, hires an unlikely candidate, Driss (Powerhouse performance by Omar Sy), as his caretaker. Characters are deepened, storyline is realized and after that, it’s a roller coaster ride having two guys plunging into an unfathomable friendship and us viewers marveling over the testament to humanity being outlined on the screen.

Some life affirming lessons, handful of jabbing at individuals and a sizzling bromance at its heart, The Intouchables hits all notes high. What easily could have been an ordeal in hardships and misfortunes was turned on its toe to create a witty and warm drama that stays with you. On par with the direction is the terrific writing of the movie that gives its funny posture a sentimental backbone.

What bogs the movie down are the not-so-splendid set pieces and racy content in between that was definitely not called for. The over exposed class differences are at times thought provoking but usually takes the dynamism out of this syrupy chirrupy drama. Nevertheless, the film succeeds in bringing out emotions and is in all terms a dramatic achievement.

The Intouchables is a crowd pleaser through and through. The records justify this as it is one of the most successful French cinema of all times. It might be possible that among the heavy rush of movies like Cocktail and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, The Intouchables loses its share of audience. But in the end, you do not want to miss this charming piece of cinema that surpasses clichés and is an everlasting ode to friendship. Strongly recommended.

Rating: 4/5

(first published in