Second on my fav list for 2008 is a movie which has no song, no star but a stalwart who has enthralled me with his histrionics in many conventional / unconventional movies....like Paar, Masoom, Sparsh(where he plays a blind man running a school), Katha, Mirch Masala, Parzania, Jalwa, Khamosh(by vidhu Vinod Chopra)and the classic "Janey Bhi Do Yarron".
Yes its "A Wednesday"...directed by first timer "Neeraj Pandey". Though the movie is average and we have seen such drama and thrill in countless english movies like speed. What stands out is the climax which even I could not guess (normally i do) and the way Naseer approached the role and performed his part. Anupam Kher was over the top and I blame the script and director's vision of portraying him as a Super Cop. Specially in the scene where he asks his Sr. Inspector (Are you married? Do you have kids?, are you ready to die?)before instructing him to search for the bomb in the police station. Now I can't imagine a Commissioner asking his subordinates silly questions like that just to drive a point. Thing with Naseer(which is common in Om Puri, Amrish Puri, Pankaj Kapoor & Aamir Khan as well) is that they change their body language to suit the characters and they do it so well that you cannot imagine anybody else playing that character. The "Electric Baba" scene in the movie is an attempt to ridicule the Hindi News Channels but wont make any difference.
Overall for me I loved watching it and I've seen it about 3-4 times. Probably the state of mind that we are in with terrorism everywhere...even if we can't exactly do it but loves watching the terrorists getting paid in their own coins.
No. 3 on my list is what I call "the cult movie"..again no stars, great music (best album of 2008), simple story and some rocking stage songs...guessed it right "Rock On!!"
For Purab Kohli, Shahana Goswami and Arjun Rampal...it was the performance of their life.
Now about the director Abhishek Kapoor...he is Jeetendra's nephew. He starred in some b-grade movies like "Uff ye Mohabbat (with Twinkle Khanna who was his girl friend then)" and "Ashique Mastaney (with Harish, Monika bedi and Ayesh Julka)" in the 90's...I've seen both :). His first movie as a director was "Aryaan" with Sohail Khan and Sneha Ullal(Aishyarya's look-alike). The movie is about a boxer who gives up boxing but takes it up again to settle some scores with his friend turned foe "Indra Kumar". When I was watching Rock On, i started comparing it with Aryaan and could not believe that its the same director.
The highlight of the movie to me are three things:
1. Music...SEL has bridged the gap between them and Rehman with this album. Personal fav: well all of them but "Sindbad the Sailor" and "Tum Ho Toh" are still with me.
2. Great performance by the three actors I mentioned.
3. The way the climax song and "Meri laundry Ka Ek Bill" were picturized...Reminded me of the "Brian Adam" show that I attended some years back in Delhi.
Aamir: I came back from US and saw my roomie Aro has purchased some dvds. One of them was "Aamir". It was till sealed, and I put it in the player not expecting something great..yes its not great but its far from ordinary.
A young doctor puts on his blazer when the flight is about to arrive Mumbai from London. He is asked funny questions at the airport because he is a muslim guy. He is surprised not to find any of his family members @ the airport. 2 unknown bikers throw a mobile phone @ him, he grabs it, the mobile rings and the movie starts.
USP: Unknown but real locations, good pace, twists and turns, good controlled acting by Rajeev Khandelwal and the villain, and the climax where the villian cries when Aamir sacrifices his life. Good watch...recommended by Sanjit.
5th spot is shared by two films ...poles apart from each other...while one has lavish sets, forts, big star casts, sword fights and costumes...the other is a small budget movie with unknown actors and multiple plots.
I am talking of "Jodhaa Akbar" and "Mukhbir".
Jodhaa Akbar, one of Hritik's finest performance. I am big fan of Ashutosh Gowarikar and to me he has given 2 of india's biggest stars their best movies Aamir Khan - "Lagaan" and Shah Rukh - "Swadesh". Now Jodhaa Akbar is his 5th movie as a director..He made his drectorial debut with Pehla Nasha (Deepak Tijori, Neelam, Raveena Tandon)...I've seen it as well...his second movie was "Baazi" with Aamir playing a 5,3" commando named "Amar Damjee".
Jodhaa Akbar had some good dramatic scenes...like the one where Ila Arun stops Akbar from having the food w/o being tasted first by Jodhaa and how Akbar impresses Jodhaa by demanding to eat from the same bowl.
Or, the one where Akbar instructs his guards to drop ila's son from the fort, check if he still alive, orders his guards to bring him back and throw him again. Or the one where he tames a wild elephant...these scenes were picturized well.
Music of the movie is very strong and goes well with the narration. After "Piya Hajiali" my fav qawali is "Khwaja Mere Khwaja". To make a movie of this magnitude is not an easy task...however I am a little dissapointed with the climax...expecting a little more.
Mukhbir: Directed by Mani Shankar(16th Dec, Rudraksh, Tango Charlie...of which the last one is the best of the lot)...One thing about his movies are that they are technically brilliant with lots of special effects.
The movie stars "Sameer Dattani" who I've seen previously in Corporate. Its about a simple guy being trained by Om Puri to be a spy. He is forced to kill Om Puri in order to seal his identity (Droh Kaal anybody)..the movie traces his journey from one gang to another moving through different cities and bringing in different characters. He gets converted to Islam and accepts the faith whole heartedly to escape the lie detector. Sameer played the part well and with subtlety.
I enjoyed watching both these movies....
Next post I'll write on some of the movies that have annoyed me in 2008...