Sunday, 15 August 2010

Peepli [Blogged]

I don't really want to make this a blog that talks only about movies, but I couldn't help blogging about what I think of Peepli [Live].

Aamir Khan has done it yet again. Made a movie on a pressing current affair, but honestly Peepli Live didn't really work for me. Trying to squeeze entertainment out of something as grave as farmer suicides, according to me, isn't really the ideal way to make the impact that the movie intended to make. One could clearly tell that the moviemakers were trying hard to make a point without being too preachy, but I doubt if they were successful enough. You see, I'm saying this because of the reactions I saw during and after the movie.

In one of the very first scenes, when Naththa's wife shouts at him when he breaks the news of their house being auctioned, people in the theatre laughed. I did not understand why. There really wasn't anything to laugh at - either at the dialogues, or the acting , or the situation. I mean, the wife is clearly upset that they are soon going to be homeless and is venting the frustration on her husband. It really wasn't a scene one should enjoy and laugh at. People were not looking beyond the ostensible entertainment factor. The movie was entertaining only because the tactics that these journalists employ to increase their channel's TRP is, at best, laughable. What I sensed from the audience in the theatre was that people were only trying to get entertained, entirely missing the bigger point - poverty and its exploitation... for TRPs, votes and what not. Or maybe they do their thinking when they go back home, but I certainly couldn't laugh much thinking about how it would be to really be in such a situation. Of course, that doesn't mean I did not enjoy the movie. I enjoyed it, laughed too, but not as much as the other people in the theatre with me.

My favourite scene in the movie has nothing to do with the story of the movie. I loved the time-lapse depiction of the changing landscape from the village to the city; shows us the extreme contrast between a village and a city. Couldn't help being awed and sad at the same time. Awed at how much our cities have developed with buildings touching the clouds, sad that the villages are still drowned in extreme poverty; amazed at how some people boast about darjeeling tea while some people are literally digging their own graves. Couldn't help wondering what these labourers at construction sites must be feeling - building houses they can never imagine living in, building homes for rich people when they themselves are homeless.

Couldn't help feeling a little contemptuous towards journalists though. I don't want to feel such feelings against journalists. They do an amazing job of reporting from the most inaccessible of places, going through hell to reach there and do what they're doing, but I can't help wondering what kind of a job is a job where one only has to report heartbreaking incidents but do nothing about them. As a journalist in the movie puts it, "We're journalists and this is what we do."

That said, in other news, today I finish exactly one year and two days in Bangalore. While there are so many things to hate about Bangalore, there are so many things to love too - the best thing being the weather. It's just perfect. Bangalore is so much different from what I imagined it to be, from how I imagined a capital city to be. It's way below expectations, but I realise that only capital cities or places that are economically vibrant can be like this. So, I'm over the initial shock and am really beginning to like this place enough to call it my second home. The next best thing - movies! I have watched more movies in this one year in Bangalore than I've watched in all my life before I came here. Not just Hindi and English, but Telugu and Kannada as well (thanks to my awesome roommate). Third best thing - shopping! (though I haven't done much of it). In short, yay Bengaluru!

And ooh, before I forget, Happy Independence Day!

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Despicable Movies

Ahoy! Just in to say if you haven't watched Despicable Me, please do. I've been waiting to watch this for about three weeks, thought it wouldn't release in India, but it did and it was soooo worth the wait. It's the cutest movie I've ever seen in recent times. No. Ever.

When I read in the newspaper about the movie being a comedy, I was doubtful. Kids' comedy, you know, isn't my favourite kind of comedy... As in, Tom and Jerry... they're cute but they don't make me laugh anymore. So when I went to watch the movie, I was thinking Tom and Jerry type of silly comedy. But when I saw in one of the first few scenes, Mr. Gru (the badman) going to a bank named, "Bank of Evil, formerly Lehman Brothers" I knew in an instant this wasn't Cat and Mouse. I must say it wasn't rip-roaring comedy; the movie has those moments where you unconsciously laugh. I didn't realise I was laughing until I... realised. The three little kids in the movie are so adorable, you want to just pick them up from the screen and take them home. The entire movie is just so cute. The story isn't much, it's highly predictable. But it's not for the story that you must watch, you must watch this movie only for its cuteness factor.

So that takes this year's animated movies count (from the industry biggies) to four - Shrek Forever After, Toy Story 3, How To Train Your Dragon and Despicable Me. I still maintain that How To Train Your Dragon must win the Academy award this year. And Despicable Me should go into your movie collection. It definitely is going into mine. And when I say go into my movie collection, I must also say that I still don't own any of the Pixar movies or Dreamworks movies or Blue Sky movies (I own a DVD of Pixar Short Films though, but that doesn't count here). That's how much I liked Despicable Me. I'm telling you. Watch it.

Speaking of DVDs, I am now a proud proud owner of the entire series of Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister. Bought the rest of them today. Can't wait to watch them. Sir Humphrey Appleby is one of the greatest characters to have graced the television.

Also bought Bolt, only because Mittens calls Bolt, "Cujo".