Dangal – Parenting for the millennials

The movie is definitely fun and inspiring with wonderful performances from the entire cast. Aamir Khan is very unlike himself as a senior citizen in the movie for sure. It was quite interesting to watch the Disney logo at the start as well and the movie fits in nicely with their image.

There’s quite a bit of a lesson for parenting as well over here, especially for the millennials of my generation. There were some cinematic liberties taken with the overall story, with Geeta’s final match in real life being a practical walkover (1-0, 7-0), and the role of the NSA coach as well as there would’ve been a lack of tension in the movie otherwise. It also turns out that she apparently won a gold for India in the 2009 Commonwealth Wrestling Championships, so her record leading up to the CWG 2010 was not as disheartening as shown.

Babita’s performance was also downplayed in the movie overall as she has a pretty decent record herself. Of course, the person people actually remember from CWG 2010 was not even mentioned, but he made sure that he was making news right after the release of the movie. Either way, it was a stark reminder of the fact that pretty the majority of Indian sports (that are not cricket) victories are in spite of the system and not because of it. This possibly makes the movie more important than Lagaan.

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Rogue One

Some quick thoughts on the movie:

  • The Star Wars movie with just one light saber in the whole movie, and more akin to the Westerns and War movies of the yesteryears as many reviewers have noted
  • This poses some interesting questions for the Star Wars Machete order, now that we have a storyline that comes in between Episodes III & IV
  • It also lays to rest the “big” design flaw in the Death Star that allowed its eventual destruction
  • It seems we’re also seeing the beginning of a new era where dead actors will be resurrected for key roles in prequels/sequels
  • The entire climax of the movie gives a new physical dimension to data search and security
  • This story also pretty much disregards the Jedi Knight video game series’ plot which started off with the Dark Forces game and involved Kyle Katarn stealing the Death Star plans

The Rusty Sword of Justice

I managed to watch Talvar on its release day thanks to the holiday yesterday. It was a pretty sad commentary on the state of the investigation organisations, judicial system and society as a whole. The performances all around were excellent as expected. The organisation dynamics (or politics, if you prefer) depicted in the CDI could just as easily be representative of your organisation.

The movie does not leave any ambiguity on the theory it prefers. Personally, I would have preferred some degree of subtlety and the graphic violence to have been off screen. Nonetheless, the movie leaves its mark on you, and shows the importance of forensics.

As for my regular tech thoughts:

  • The mobile phones shown in the movie are pretty much used to establish the period of the events.
  • They managed to get hold of laptops with old Intel logos as well. Then again this may not have been by design given the slow down in laptop replacement cycle.
  • The so called back stabbing video of police brutality captured on the mobile phone was a bit of a stretch given the poor lighting conditions. Most of today’s phones would struggle in those conditions and a Blackberry from 5-7 years ago would’ve captured a blurry unidentifiable mess.

From Piku to Dil Dhadakne Do

I ended up watching quite a few movies over the last 2 weeks starting from Piku and then doing Bombay Velvet and Tanu weds Manu returns in one day, and ending with the first day last show of Dil Dhadakne Do yesterday. 4 in 1 post coming up:

Piku

Shhojit Sircar’s latest creation puts Bongs front and centre in the character list with superb performances. It made me feel both conservative due to Piku & her father’s philosophies that did not echo with me, and nostalgic with the ancient family mansion that I could really relate to. Watching it in Kolkata also helped set the atmosphere. Moving on to the tech:

  • The first meeting room scene with Lenovo laptops raised some hopes of making the movie less fruity, but that turned out to be the only non-Apple spot
  • Wonder why Piku had an ancient iMac at work when she was using a MacBook most of the time…
  • iPhones galore in the movie, and I’m pretty certain that Deepika Padukone is an iPhone user given the way she used the volume keys to click a shot on the move
  • Also found it interesting that they did away with the front seat head rests in the Innova in the Delhi-Kolkata stretch, only to have them come back on the return trip

Bombay Velvet

Enjoyed the movie more than I expected and it was in some ways a documentary for how Bombay evolved into its current state. Pretty good job by the creators with the retro setting except for the cage fight portions which felt out of place. Also marked Karan Johar’s proper screen debut after his small part in DDLJ.

The “Smoking kills” displayed throughout the movie should’ve probably been replaced with “Smokers kill” given the trigger happy hero. I also suspect a spike in the search for performances of a certain Rosie in Goa after the release of the movie.

Tanu weds Manu returns

Watched this right after Bombay Velvet on the same day, and I ended up enjoying it even more than Piku. If the first part was a surprise hit, then the second was an even bigger surprise. Not much to say here other than appreciate the performances all around.

Dil Dhadakne Do

Watched the 10:30 pm show and enjoyed it as much as the other movies even though it was nearly 2:45 hours long. Pretty enjoyable movie with the typical Zoya-Farhan Akhtar touch of silent moments that speak tons. Not quite in the league to Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara in my books, but the key conflicts are quite relatable though they happen to the rich and famous. However, this movie pretty much showcases how far we’ve come since the days movies focused on Indian poverty, and anyone watching this movie would think that Indians are globe trotting Apple fanboys. And that brings me to the tech:

  • Another ancient, but large screen iMac being used by Kabir at home. Guess the rich and famous don’t always live on the edge of tech.
  • Ayesha makes a good impression as a budding entrepreneur with her simple encased smartphone, but right after that we are treated to a travel site office that’s almost entirely based on iMacs. A design firm with iMacs I could’ve digested, but this was a bit too much. Then again, I’ve not visited any travel site office.
  • Then of course there’s a sort of laptop class barrier on the cruise ship with the really rich separated from the not so rich in the form of MacBooks and PCs.
  • Sunny (Farhan Akhtar) choosing to use a mirrorless over a DSLR and the absence of any DSLR in the movie shows how things have changed in just 2-3 years.

PK go home or ET meets Satyameva Jayate

ET

One of the main objectives behind watching PK for me was to make this post. So here goes:

  • If you thought the PK poster was controversial, just imagine what would’ve happened had he landed in an urban area and encountered an iPod Shuffle carrying thief.
  • I half expected to have an ET like cycle sequence given the carrier equipped cycle that Jaggu was riding in her intro sequence.
  • The initial Jaggu courtship track has got to be one of the shortest on record in Bollywood.
  • A 6 hour handholding session to just learn a language or two, and nothing else! The Hollywood aliens are much much faster at this kind of data transfer.
  • There are way too many dancing cars in Rajasthan & Delhi, given PK’s constantly changing wardrobe.
  • I seriously wonder what people in embassies do.
  • Then again, solving romantic issues with a call to an embassy is probably better than the use of vacuum cleaners to deliver babies.
  • If you do want to watch aliens listening to earth music, check out Guardians of the Galaxy.
  • If there’s a sequel, will it be called Prrish?
  • Parting thought – imagine PK & friends feeling depressed and doing the cheering up dance sequence on his home planet.

Sholay (sort of) 3D


I finally managed to watch Sholay on the big screen albeit in the remastered 3D format, after having seen it multiple times on the small screen. Nothing much to say about the movie itself, as I can but only gauge its impact when it was released in 1975. No wonder why it ran for months (years?) in some theatres on its original release.

However, when it comes to the 3D and remastering parts, I have my reservations:

  • The picture quality was considerably affected due to the 3D processing as it requires the frame to be brightened up considerably (3D glasses do block out a lot of light after all) and this leads to highlight clipping. The movie frames looked like it had gone through a budget image processor’s auto adjust & enhance tool.
  • Considerable parts of the movie are without much 3D effects, i.e., no double images for stereo vision separation. So, you can actually watch those parts without the 3D glasses and actually enjoy it more, and this is what I did for most of the movie. Kind of defeats the whole Sholay in 3D part.
  • They also recomposed and rerecorded considerable parts of the soundtrack (for the surround effects I presume), and this is most noticeable in the wrong ways during the songs. I found the vocal leads pretty subdued with the music blaring through. On top of it, the vocals & music seemed slightly out of sync due to the rerecording. If you have listened to the HMV\SaReGaMa Classic Revival pieces, then you’ll understand what I mean.

They should have probably skipped the George Lucasization and just released it on the big screen for the current generation a la the original Chashme Baddoor. Incidentally, there’s a Sholay Director’s Cut where Thakur kills Gabbar.

1.5 Ishqiya

I haven’t seen the first part, but the sequel was quite a fun and charming movie with a dash of crudeness every now and then to ground the faux sophistication. At first I was wondering why they had English subtitles, but as the movie progressed and the Urdu got heavier, it began to make sense. They even managed to throw in a couple of guest appearances by the iPhones.

As for the performances, pretty much everyone got under the skin of their characters, and Madhuri Dixit still has that smile and age has not dulled the sparkle in her eyes. Moreover, she managed to hold back the audience from making an exit with the final song of the film that accompanied the credits – a feat that most of the usual credit item numbers fail to do.

All in all, a worthwhile watch.

Chander Pahar: Molehill of a mountain

I came away pretty disappointed with the ambitious project of a film that had worked up a lot of curiosity following its promos. The inexperience of the film crew for such a project was evident from the movie length (2 ½ hours!), editing (particularly action sequences) and cinematography (too many close-ups). As for the Bunyip (incidentally an Australian myth rather than African), it turned out to be more of a ROUS (Rodent Of Unusual Size).

Better luck next time.

Dhoom 3: Road Rash the movie

For a movie that’s made up holes held together by what passes for slivers of a story, I won’t bother digging deeper. However, the opening chase sequence (and most subsequent bike chases) did make me nostalgic for the video game Road Rash. If you have played it, you know what I mean, and if you haven’t here’re a few screenshots to illustrate the point.

With that out of the way, it was quite fun to see the Indian incarnation of Aquafina bottles on the meeting room tables in Chicago (US versions here). Then of course there was the climax which turned out to be a jazzed up Mountain Dew ad. Not really surprising given the starring role it played in the bonding scenes in the amusement park.

Last but not the least – “Et tu Aamir?” Then again, he has done this to help out his brother. So, if you are planning to watch or have watched Dhoom 3, recall Aamir Khan’s advice from 3 Idiots and put a hand on your heart and remind yourself “All is well”…