Movies I hated in 2011

In the previous post, I mentioned about movies that I loved this year. In this post I will talk out about movies that left me with nothing but ennui. There may have been much worse films than these but wasting resources like they did in this movie is inexcusable. I might talk more about what I hated in a movie rather than what I loved in a movie. Here is the list of the movies that I hated, this year. Point to be noted again is that this is not an exhaustive list and are picked from the movies that I saw this year

1) Dongala Mutha

Yeah this movie had my favourite actor in it and it had ample dosage of Charmi’s posterior. What it did not have was, a story. Announced and made in a rush, the movie disappeared out of theatres too in a rush. With a talented star cast at his disposal, RGV threw it all away. He never went in with a script in hand for this movie. Agreed that it was experimental fare and costed, next to nothing. That the making videos of this movie were more entertaining than the movie itself tells us a lot. Appalling fare, at best

2) Nenu naa Rakshasi

The director of this movie had the gall to say Thanks at the end of the movie. He, probably was under no illusion. He thought that people might not sit through the movie and wanted to thank those who bore the movie till the very end. A genuine gesture, indeed. The movie was so insipid that people were indifferent to its similarities to Dushman. The only actor to emerge unscathed from the mess was the little kid

3) Veera

That my favourite actor figures in two of the duds this year is a pointer to his script choosing abilities. If ever I meet him in my lifetime, I would want to ask what made him choose the scripts of Khatarnak and Veera. Maybe, he wanted to test if he can carry a poor movie on his shoulders or worse still, he thought his fans would throng his movies without ever considering the storyline. To date, it remains his last release and he seems to have learnt his lessons well. He is asking for bound scripts now or so I heard

4) 180

A pack of talented artistes were wasted by a first time director. Gargantuan expectations were built up after the audio release and the subsequent theatrical trailer release. In the end, the movie itself was a damp squib as it had nothing new to offer. Siddharth, the idea of an American Yama and living the remainder of life happily were few factors that churned the gut. The cinematography, Nitya Menon and the songs made the viewer sit through the three hour torture. One of the biggest drawbacks for the movie was the hype it was accorded in the print media. It was entirely based on the reputation of the maker in his chosen profession

5) Dhada

Education has nothing to do with movie making. An IIT,IIM graduate made a unmitigated disaster of a movie in Dhada. He had all the resources at his disposal. Budget, music, star cast, and the backing of Nagarjuna. None of these could translate into collections at the box-office. Naga Chaitanya’s fledgling career was dealt a blow by the failure of this movie. That he threw away the golden chance means that we might never see Ajay Bhuyan making a movie again

6) Panjaa

What does it tell us about the desperation of a star who grows reminiscent of his old hits in the movie? Simple, he needs a hit. Well if he had to rehash one of his previous movies, why not a hit movie than a flop one. Similar to Balu, this movie had a few rousing dialogues and proven performers. Pawan Kalyan was, actually, subtle in this movie and it did not work. A lot of time was taken to put the point across, in the movie. It didn’t work in favour of the movie that the playtime of the best performer was only limited to the first half. Things might have been different if Jackie Shroff was the one to expire. And so would’ve been the story too

Movies I liked in 2011

There were a lot of movies that hit the marquee this year and I did see a few of them. I will list out a few movies, which had me engrossed and managed to make me feel good while walking out of the theatre. Don’t treat this as an exhaustive list. It’s only based on personal choice and might not actually be in accordance with the majority

1) Mirpakaya

A lot of bias goes into choosing this movie as one of the best this year. I am an unabashed fan of Ravi Teja, managing to watch every movie, he has acted in as a hero. This movie solely runs on his star power and his chemistry with Richa Gangopadhyay. The movie had a lot of witty one-liners. Mirpakaya gave a good lift to the director of the movie, Harish Shankar. It allowed him to rise from the rut, that Shock was

2) Ala Modhalaindhi

A movie that came with no expectations, whatsoever. It is indeed surprising that it managed to find buyers considering there were no big names associated with the movie. A new heroine, who managed to sing her songs and dub her voice and a hero with, good acting skills and a good dialogue modulation, did the trick for the director. It was a usual romantic story narrated in a different manner. Everybody associated with the movie, bar RJ Hemanth did their parts incredibly well

3) 100% Love

Sukumar had to go back to the drawing board after people thumbed down his last venture Arya-2. He came up with an engaging story line about a boy’s ego preventing him to accept the reality. Like Ala Modhalaindhi, earlier in the year, this was a movie that had the director’s touch written all over it. Tammanah came up with a spirited performance and it is to Naga Chaitanya’s credit that he accepted a character that projects him in a negative light. Songs, picturisation and the performances by the lead cast did the trick for this movie

4) Ko

A commercial political drama that gave the fillip to Jiiva’s career. KV Anand took the crew to locations that were never seen before. A gripping story that unravels people’s intentions and taut editing had the viewers thronging. Ajmal Ameer in the antagonist’s role shined. It was Jiiva, in the role of photo journalist that gained maximum mileage from this movie

5) Rockstar

The songs were a rage even before the movie released. It is a story of man who has achieved whatever he was wanted to, in his life and more, craving for love. The angst, obsession, and the anxiety shown by Ranbir Kapoor draws a lot of people to sympathise for him. Since it is a life tale, the narration is bound to be slower. The absence of any ‘feel-good’ factor to the movie led to its debacle at the box office

6) Mayakkam Enna

The importance of women in life is shown beautifully through the frames of the movie. The movie gains steam as Dhanush’s behaviour becomes erratic and comes to a culmination with a tragic event. The movie is all about the inherent strength of a woman. This movie goes to show that brilliant performances by the protagonists can take it several notches higher

Going by the above mentioned list, Richa is the star of the year for me as she flitted between glamorous roles and performance oriented roles with ease

The Australia I love

On a fateful day in March 1992, few hearts were broken and a lifelong relationship for a young kid started, with a team that scraped through with the skin of their teeth. It was the second one-run win for the team against their opponents in a World Cup setting

 

I was too young to realise  the vagaries of the rules in the rain-hit matches. They favoured Australia more than India in that game. What I realised, though, was the importance of the game. It was one of those days where my father put a stop to the ad-guess game, as we called it. As my father sunk into despair after the match, I found a new hope- Australian cricket team. It didn’t matter to me that they were out of the tournament before the semi-finals

 

Cricket is a team game but there are individuals whom you find yourself drawn to, more than the others. From that day on, I had at least one person in the team that I looked up to. Mark Waugh, Steve Waugh, Shane Warne, Ricky Ponting, Damien Martyn, Adam Gilchrist, Michael Clarke, and believe it or not, even Phil Hughes were, to a name a few, that I looked forward to watching

 

My adulation on the team was enhanced by some of the reports that I read in those days. A common adage in those days, while describing the Australian cricket team was “Give them an inch and they will take a mile”. Another report from my favourite magazine- The Sportstar said that, on a football field Germany had the capability to snatch a victory from the jaws of defeat and it was Australia in cricket that were capable of bouncing back from death. Exaggerated, but not exactly untrue

 

It was in the run up to the 1996 World Cup that the fondness turned into fixation, primarily because of two men- Mark Waugh and Shane Warne. The final of that tournament was one of three occasions that I cried for the team

 

Watching the 1999 World Cup semi-final was another occasion that I was driven to tears at my cousins place in Bangalore. That fateful backhanded flick by ME Waugh ensured that they were wiped. My belief in the team grew stronger with the win in Port Elizabeth, draw in Adelaide, winning the series in Caribbean, chasing a difficult total in Hobart

 

What I did not ideate was that these players might retire. When they started to retire, one after the other, I still had someone in the team to look up to. The last couple of years have been particularly difficult as a supporter. There were winning situations thrown away in Nagpur, Cardiff, Mohali and Brisbane. The bowling never looked so weak, the batting was never so brittle

 

There were times when I had been abused for being a supporter of the team. I bore it proudly, knowing the fact that the team I supported ruled the cricketing world. When they crashed out of the World Cup in 2011, all of my friends cumulative frustration of previous defeats was unloaded on me. I bore that too, thinking what goes around, comes around

When Cape Town happened, people thought that I would finally make the switch. I switched my loyalties only once before, from Roger Federer to Rafael Nadal and that was because Federer cried or rather, I felt that Nadal drove Federer to tears

 

With three and a half hours to go for the Boxing day Test, I am not predicting a series line but what I want is a few more people to look up to. Whatever be the result, my loyalties will continue to lie with one cricket team that I have ever loved- Australia

Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol

BREAKING NEWS: Allu Arjun and Ravi Teja from Telugu movies make a fleeting appearance in Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. Doesn’t matter that they appear in a TV footage in the movie

 

From the time it was announced that Anil Kapoor would be a part of the Mission Impossible franchise, it was marked as an awaited movie in India. It was widely anticipated that he would play a major role in the movie. Though he serves as a major connecting link in the movie or rather the main reason, why the movie moves to India, he is projected as a lusting billionaire

 

One of the very good things about the movie is its humour content. There are a lot of subtle one-liners by the guy who operates the computer and is the technical guru in the movie. The movie is about an evil mind getting his hand on nuclear warhead and the mission is to stop a full blown war between USA and Russia

 

There are a lot of things that are interlinked in the movie. For example, at the beginning of the mission when it’s said that the message will self-destruct in five seconds and doesn’t, Tom Cruise walks back and destroys the message himself. At the end of the movie, he says that the only thing working in the mission was the team

 

Tom Cruise seems to be in his element in this movie. A man, who combines drop dead gorgeousness with great intelligence has to be revered. It is no wonder then that this movie has had four instalments. He is in top form in the action sequences filmed in Dubai. The rest of the cast does their jobs well

 

The movie jumps from Budapest to Moscow to Dubai and finally to, Mumbai. Well, a lot of reviewers will give positive reviews for the movie and so will I. There is nothing in the movie that one can pick upon, except for attention to detail that is

 

It is often said that the detail is king. Well not so in this movie. The registration plates in Mumbai seem to run backwards, to, what is actually the norm in India. Well the team shifts to a Sun Network studio in Mumbai but the signboards are in Kannada. It is said that the studio is at a distance of six and a half minutes from Brij Mohan’s residence. There is no way that they can reach  Bengaluru in six minutes

 

That’s not the only glaring error. When Tom Cruise is chasing the antagonist through the streets of Mumbai, a giant hoarding of Coca-Cola Zero appears. Well a little research on the part of the makers would have told them it’s not available in India. It’s called diet Coke in India. These errors stand out because the narrative is racy and the fact that they stand out is a pointer to the magnitude of the error

 

Its not to pinpoint the errors but to tell those reviewers  who bend over and lick their own backsides while writing a review for Hollywood movies. It’s to tell them that a few mistakes happen in case of Hollywood movies

 

All in all, it’s a good watch and is a paisa-vasool for every paisa you put on the ticket

 

Panjaa

What does a person do when he/she has tasted success in life? Look to better it obviously. What if the success has resonated for a period of time? That’s when the person grapples with questions in the mind. Whether to succumb to the need of people who have gifted the success or to satiate the urge within

Ten years ago, after his biggest hit, Pawan Kalyan, was compared to Rajnikanth by AM Ratnam (the producer of the movie). He said that these were the two actors that knew the public pulse very well. Ironically, after Khushi there is not one movie that Pawan Kalyan can remember with fondness

When confronted by similar questions, Mahesh Babu, went for an overhaul in his image and came out successful with Dookudu. One can’t expect Pawan Kalyan doing a similar thing because the carefully cultivated image might go for a toss

In his initial movies, he tasted success through remakes and there is no harm in actually doing the same now. That his next movie is a remake might provide the emotional cushion for a man who is enduring the roughest of rough patches. He nearly put a halt to it with Jalsa but the confused narrative didn’t allow the movie to get to the next level

His second ventures with the directors who gave him blockbusters fell flat. It’s said that his movie’s initial collections are on par with gross revenue of several blockbusters. If that’s true, then, Panjaa certainly has to be the biggest flop in his career

The screen where I saw the movie had at least 50% of its seats vacant. I, extrapolated when I said that Panjaa would be his biggest flop. The titles were impressive as the images of the actors were with silver hue. Starting off slowly, at no point does it appear that it will gather steam

The characterisation of Pawan Kalyan is patchy. In the first half, if he is not exhorting people about loyalty and gratitude, he is trying to infuse a dash of chemistry with Sarah Jane Dias. Though he has carried the look off very well, it seems as if he did not give enough attention to the story

The director, Vishnu Vardhan has stylishy crafted the movie but without a strong plot. It is indeed painful to watch Pawan Kalyan reduced to being reminiscent about his old movies. The flashback could have been given more run time in the movie but then it would bring it more closer in its storyline to Balu

It’s not that Pawan Kalyan doesn’t care. He has tried all methods in trying to get to that elusive. The movies have tanked when he said that these were close to his heart. The movies flopped even when he said that his movie would have all the ingredients that a normal fan expects out of his movie. What he hasn’t tried though, is acting with the so-called “big(hit) directors”. It would be actually beneficial to him as they would know how to handle a project that has a superstar in it

It was refreshing to see Tanikella Bharani in a substantial role after a long time. In my memory, after Shiva this is the first movie that allows him show his histrionics

Brahmanandam and Ali fail miserably in their attempts to evoke laughter. Sesh Adivi did look the menacing brat that he portrayed in the movie. Jackie Shroff plays the antagonist and breezes through his role easily

What actually surprises me is the fact that Pawan Kalyan chose this script. It was so similar to Balu. Just that Balu starts off in New Delhi and Panjaa in Kolkatta. It was Gulshan Grover in Balu and Jackie Shroff in Panjaa


Australia V New Zealand- 2nd Test, Day 1

A rain truncated day will be remembered for three reasons- uncertainty about DRS, Pattinson’s second five wicket haul in his second test and the mental disintegration of Phil Hughes

A few days ago Dhoni said that he would want the pitches in India to turn from first day. Players and critics were quick to pounce him and speak for the so-called betterment of the game. If seen in the same light, the pitch and it’s maker will be under censure in the coming days. He prepared a green top, which made the decision for the captain winning the toss, easy

Taylor couldn’t call correctly and Clarke had no second thoughts about inserting the opposition in. His move paid off 2 overs into the day as Siddle induced a drive from Guptill. The ball straightened after pitching and found the outside edge. The next two dismissals shifted the focus onto the new baby of cricket- DRS. In case of Ryder, it wasn’t clear if the ball thudded onto the pads after an inside edge. Hot Spot which facilitates these decisions, indicated a mark on the bat. In case of doubt, the benefit should go to the batsman but here the opposite happened as the batsman was adjudged out. Commentators on air were divided over their judgement

Ross Taylor – the next man to go can also count himself as unlucky because the ball hit him on the lower part of the thigh pad. It seemed as if the ball would sail over the stumps but the ball tracking found it to be hitting the top of off and middle. These decisions apart, it was a meek batting display by New Zealand. McCullum was troubled in his 98 minutes of stay by the moving ball. He was repeatedly beaten on the drive. For a man who is used to boundary hit every 11 balls, he doubled the average today as he found the going tough. What will bother him is the fact that the time spent in the middle couldn’t quite translate into runs

Williamson was pushed down the order and he too, like McCullum found the going tough. He scored the first boundary of the innings through an outside edge. He looked settled in the middle against the ball swinging away but when the ball was pitched on the middle stump line, his reflexes were uncertain. He departed by getting a fine edge that Haddin had to dive to his left to collect

It was left to Brownlie then to add some significance to the total. He did just that by capitalising whenever the bowlers erred in length. He was quick to pounce on anything that was short. He cut and drove with felicity. His promising innings was bought to end by inside edge

Over the past couple of years Australia found it difficult to dislodge the tail. Many a batsman rallied their lower order batsmen to make significant contributions. Cardiff and Mohali are the two venues that come to mind immediately. Australia seem to have found an answer to that if we are to go by this Test.  Pattinson made inroads into the tail with a double wicket maiden and bought about the end of the innings with two wickets off two balls

All eyes were on Hughes when Australia came back to bat after an extended tea break because of rain. He was picked and marked for this test by Taylor and Martin. He walked straight into the trap as he fell looking to defend a ball outside the off stump. The catch was gleefully taken by Guptill in the slip cordon. It shows that the Kiwis were in his minds as they made no bones about the way they wanted to dismiss him. That he was dismissed in manner that was talked about means that the axes are being grinded

With cloud cover, the first hour will be important for both the teams. The team that walks away with honours in the first hour might as well end up winning the match

Mayakkam Enna

The two movies of Selvaraghavan that I have seen turn after a death scene. Mayakkam Enna is no different. It turns after Richa suffers a miscarriage. Credit to the director that he dared to delve into a lot of emotions in the movie and put a full stop to each one of them

Selvaraghavan always has the protagonist as an errant individual. In this movie, there is a slight deviation. The protagonist has creativity and is mightily confident about it till a certain point in the movie. What lights up the movie is the individual sequences in the movie. I don’t recall carrying back so many sequences in my head from a movie

There are so many good scenes in the movie. If forced to pick two or three of them, my choice would be as follows

1)    The scene where Richa questions Dhanush’s profession and advices him to look for something more viable. Dhanush on the way back gets an old lady to pose for him and surprises her and her husband with the inherent beauty of the lady. The phone conversation later with Richa where he says that he derives happiness out of the daily life photography rather than the studio photography

2)    The scene where Dhanush meets Richa, after his work has been rejected is a tear-jerker. Notice Dhanush when he says that the only thing he knows is clicking. Richa gees him up in a rather cinematic manner but the setting of the entire scene is superb

3)    After marriage, the first conversation that Richa has with Dhanush is the honeymoon destination. Dhanush rebukes her for not asking this earlier, as he could have done with some money from his friend’s father. Richa says she would accompany him to a place where he can afford to take her. Cue for a song but brilliantly done

Dhanush was highly underrated by me as I felt that he tended to manipulate the portrayal of dark characters to his advantage. I felt that the national award to him was a honour too large for him. It did not help that I made all these assumptions based on his initial movies. Dhanush proves me wrong with this movie. He is a man at the top of his craft and the camera just loves him. He shines through in every sequence in the movie. He is an apt representation of the character that the director had in mind

Richa continues to improve by leaps and bounds with every character that she plays. Though the movie is a male-protagonist driven one, it is the strength of the woman in his life that drives him. She has an equally important role as Dhanush, if not more than him. She shines in the scene where she rebuts Dhanush’s friend. Her eyes do the talking for her. If at all anything then it’s the dubbing that lets her down at certain moments. Yes she might be lost to glamorous roles but we have hope

As the movie dabbles with photography, it is but natural to expect some beautiful frames and the cinematographer delivers. The pick of the lot is where he is clicking his sister under sunlight. A frame to die for

There are allegations that GV Prakash Kumar has plagiarised the music. He might have, but then provides a rousing background score for the movie. In a lot of sequences, it is the actor’s eyes and the music that convey the emotion

What to say of Selvaraghavan that has not been already said. He makes a man ( the person who appeared as Genelia’s father in BOYS) appear in not more than four scenes but makes the audience hate him. There are a lot of scenes in the movies  where he has silence as Background and lets the eyes do the talking. He is known to show his characters with certain rawness and this film is no exception. Kudos to him for showing his protagonist as a person craving for reassurance and upping Richa’s role by showing her as a person who will support her man, no matter what

The sequences after Richa’s abortion are conjured up superbly. She does everything for her man but talk to him. She cuts her husbands first cover pic and then adorns the wall with his pictures but doesn’t talk to him

She will also go to the extent of conceiving a second child with him but won’t talk to him. She will silently sit and admire his work but won’t talk to him. On his biggest night, she is worried what he will bring upon himself if he doesn’t succeed but still won’t talk to him. It is only after he publicly declares that the force behind him was his wife and the applause should rightfully belong to his wife that she talks to him. Not that she craved for attention but she realises that her husband has turned a new page

The rolling titles too have a powerful scene. It is perhaps fitting that the movie ends with the words “Hello” and “Thanks”