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 clich├ęs and is an everlasting ode to friendship. Strongly recommended.

Rating: 4/5

(first published in

Monday, 9 July 2012

The Silence Within

A delicate breeze ruffled through my hairs as I stood beside the Dalai Lama Temple. I looked up to the clouded sky, veiled by a thick crust of pine leaves. The enchanting divine mantras were hung in the atmosphere. Mild fragrances were accumulated in the place, as if, immured by a higher entity.

I sat down with people who were already lost in the depths of hymns devoted to His Highness. The monks were cladded in red. They were singing verses in a tongue that was foreign to me. Even after that, it felt surreal, like an old dance, majestic in its perfection. It took a blink of an eye to perceive that amidst all the rituals, there was a calmness of an ocean; peace of a small creek flowing through the meadows.

Some things are meant to reach out to your minds and leave a lasting kiss deep within its surface. They act as the eye of a hurricane, stillness in the middle of all the commotion, a white dove hovering between the black clouds. Our mind creates a smooth picture of the times that have such impressions on an individual. Those pictures, memoirs in other words are often revisited by people. A cistern of comfort, they are a reminder of how close a person can get to his inner self.

The compassionate drum rolls and the intoxicating chants of around two hundred monks were echoed from the deep valleys adjoining the temple. It felt as if these prayers had some unknown control over the swift movements of butterflies or the rustling of pine leaves. What other force of nature could cause such periodic fluttering of wings or the constant swaying of pine trees? Was it the fact that I, being an ardent lover of nature, never gave a sincere notice to these occurrences before?

It was the stillness of the moment that made me realize the splendor of simplest things that surround me.  The tranquility of the place compelled me to notice things that were once oblivious to my eyes.  I took a walk along the premise of the temple, breathing in pleasures that the air carried. I heard tales from their past and read accounts of their religion. Absorbed by the spiritual knowledge, I took the pavement that led back to my hotel.

Later that night, I found myself staring at the emptiness. The brilliance of the day had just dawned on me. Beauty of a higher power was more visible to me than ever before. I found solace.

(first published in Udaipur Times)

Friday, 6 July 2012

Top Ten Movies Of 2010

10. How To Train Your Dragon

9.Blue Valentine

8. True Grit 

7.Shutter Island

6.The Fighter

5.The King's Speech

4.Toy Story 3

3.Black Swan

2.The Social Network

1. Inception

Monday, 2 July 2012

The Amazing Spider-Man: An Alluring Web

Cast: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Martin Sheen, Irrfan Khan
Director: Marc Webb
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy

Scrape through the slick, ingenious and shiny surface of The Amazing Spider-Man, and you’ll find a vast heart seeded deep in its premise. It is the Cupid’s web that has struck our web slinger and instead of periodic gasps we get intermittent awww. Things pan out pretty well for this reboot as Cupid’s aim hits its mark and Dr. Lizard takes care of any glitches in the storyline.

Sadly, the storyline traces familiar arches in the first hour of the movie. Peter Parker lives with his uncle and aunt, gets bitten by a spider, and recognizes his senses and blah blah!! The only arrangement different from the old dance is the vital secret of Parker’s father. And we have Mr. Connors (Rhys Ifans) to make the proceedings juicy and slimy (pun intended) when the daddy issues are not around!

Consider it director Marc Webb’s talent that despite having a familiar script, The Amazing Spider-Man feels garden-fresh. And so does Andrew Garfield in his stunning portrayal of Spiderman. Trust me, Tobey Maguire is never missed as our boy takes the center stage and swirl around a spectacular web of superior dramatic skills.

When cliff hanged by a mediocre screenplay, onus ultimately lied on the shoulders of the director to give this saga a new breath. Nevertheless, Marc Webb smoothly slips in the shoes of Sam Raimi to direct a grounded and character driven Spiderman. He carries the charm of his previous directorial venture, 500 Days Of Summer and spins an intimate love story along with the hard core crowd pleasing CGI set pieces.

 Being critically helmed for her pivotal role in ‘The Help’, Emma Stone gets her first major blockbuster character in the face of Gwen Stacy, Peter Parker’s bold Juliet. Self-assured and gutsy, she is outstanding from the word go.

3D ends up being a spoil sport as the movie fumbles in darkness for most of its parts. Also, it takes ages for the script to reach to a crescendo situation to unleash our full-fledged web crawler. Well, too late fella!

The holes in the script leave an undeniable presence as they surfaces on the cracks of the lustrous atmosphere whenever the screenplay becomes feeble.

The Amazing Spider-Man may not be as amazing as the title suggests, but it does weave an alluring web. When all will be said and done, this will be seen as a perky start for a new franchise carried home by the intoxicating charm of Garfield and Stone.

Rating: 3/5