It’s been a while, but I am back now and 2017 is up and away on WordPress!
The last couple of months have seen two famous filmmakers trying to reinvent and adapt the romance genre defined by them two decades ago. Karan Johar’s Ae Dil Hai Mushkil saw the director come full circle from his blockbuster debut film “Kuch Kuch Hota Hai”, where the protagonist played by Ranbir Kapoor finally accepts that his love will not be reciprocated and understands the value of her friendship. Aditya Chopra’s “Befikre” is a modern take on the notions of love and commitment he has built since his legendary debut film,“Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge”.
Both the films felt fresh and had a sense of maturity showing the mental growth of directors. Further, they showcased the fast and confused lives of the present generation that the protagonists live in where chastity is no longer as important and in spite of the cool, surface-deep emotions they seem to portray, the leads go through an emotional roller-coaster before coming to terms with what they really want.
On the surface, the unabashed conversations, the “act first and think later” mentality and the various partners tried out before finding the right one can feel from being morally wrong to absolutely right depending on which age group one belongs to. the depiction of present culture has also got to do with the society’s acceptance levels. A case can be made that having multiple partners has been prevalent since the time of kings and emperors. However, it was considered a right only of the rich alone. The increase in society’s acceptance levels over the centuries has thrown much-needed light on it and the current movies reflect that.
However, on looking deeper, in terms of emotions, the present two films are not much different from those 90s classics. Yes, the present movies do not have classic starts and the leads are at various mental stages when they meet. We travel with them as they embrace their turbulent emotions and finally settle at a common mental wavelength. The reality is that this is the only main difference between the old and the new. If we look deeper, the feelings of love, friendship, heart-break and separation are experienced the same way as in the past.
The joy in finding love, the sense of realization and the angst of a heart-break are felt in exactly the same way no matter how much the cultures have changed and how much cooler people seem to be. This is because love is truly universal. Times change, cultures change, but be it Shah Jahan, or Raj/Rahul or Ayan/Dharam or us, true love always works the same. The same applies for the female protagonists as well. There is a scene in “Befikre” where Ranveer asks Vaani Kapoor whether she is waiting for her date to palat as he walks off in an obvious nod to Adi’s DDLJ. Vaani replies such things happened in the 90s and that she was just checking him out. However, towards the end of the film, she does palat, which proves the point. In being able to portray that while showing the superficial changes of time, both Karan Johar and Aditya Chopra have reinvented themselves.
Another interesting tidbit is the casting of Ranveer Singh and Ranbir Kapoor for the roles. The energy and enthusiasm of Raj is seen in Dharam and the more subtle and romantic Rahul is seen in Ayan. In essence, they are playing Raj and Rahul, the only difference being the present ones are more evolved.
To conclude, love finds new forms and helps build new stories but love in its truest form never changes. It only becomes “old wine in new bottle” with time and the films depict exactly that.
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Every individual has some of their maddest and best moments as a child. No matter how silly it might sound now, those moments felt sprightly, thrilling and even heroic at times. The crazy feats, the sweet gestures, the unabashed love, the unapologetic impersonations and the countless dreams are integral to one’s younger years. And then on reaching teenage, one is forced to “grow up” – a phrase that has no fixed meaning and evokes varied thoughts in every individual.
“Growing up” invariably ends up curbing the individual’s million dreams to pursue a successful career, to control the madness in order to look mature and a whole host of things making one resemble a perfect person in the society.
Yet, over the years, a cloud starts darkening within. A cloud that does not rain away no matter how much success one achieves, building an internal storm that rages for years. That is the storm caused by the “little child” inside. That “little child” which defines the core of the individual. That “little child” yearns for those tiny moments, tiny cravings, tiny moments of madness which actually make a person feel alive.
When one is truly alive, is when life is truly lived. When life is truly lived, is when one experiences fulfillment and happiness – the actual feelings every individual needs, is when the clouds rain away to unleash the pristine dawn of the sun.
In order to do that, one always got to keep the child alive – a line that we hear hundreds of times. However, just like “growing up”, “keeping the child alive” has different implications for different people. All it means is to do not stop doing the little things that give little joys no matter how old one becomes. As kids, life is simple, thoughts are pure, actions are honest and memories are many. It is those little moments that provide the sparks in everyone’s complicated lives. Those simple moments are what we need while we chase stars and try to become one.
I miss the piercing gaze from those almond eyes,
I miss the soul-stirring elixir that is your voice,
I miss those luscious lips that ignite passion,
I miss the ruffled hair inimical to me brewing a concoction,
I miss the puppy face that makes my heart melt and bare,
I miss the familiar touch that accompanies me everywhere.
I miss you.
It has been six years since Naga Chaitanya’s “Ye Maaya Chesave”, also directed by Gautham Vasudev Menon released. It showed the kind of roles Chaitanya suits well for, the common man roles with emotions and sincerity. However, there was much to be left wanting then. After a variety of attempts over the years, he has finally come full circle with Menon’s “Sahasam Swasaga Sagipo”.
The director’s prime motive is to show how one moment in a person’s life can completely change it in ways he/she cannot imagine. A good amount of the first-half is spent on showing the Naga Chaitanya we have known over the years, the regular good-looking guy trying to find his way in life plans to go on a road trip. The narrative is peppered with songs and the editing of “Vellipomakey” deserves a special mention.
This slow-burn that invokes subtle nostalgia shifts gears at a swift pace from romance to thriller territory once the above mentioned occurs. From that point on, the film becomes its own as the good people get entangled in a survival fight with powers must higher than a common man could fathom. It is from this point that both the movie and Chaitanya show remarkable depth as the thriller races along.
The plot thickens with Baba Sehgal playing a corrupt cop. The previously mellow Chaitanya transforms into a decisive and motivated man when he is pushed into a corner with nowhere to run.The director keeps the screenplay taut to ensure the audience remain hooked Although the ending is on the simpler side, one leaves the hall having witnessed a fresh and interesting thriller. The director ensures there is time for emotions to come to the surface while the good guys come to term with the situation and losses.
Naga Chaitanya is in his comfort zone as the romantic and wanderlust guy in the first-half. He shows his true acting chops first as the cornered one and later as the brooding, vengeful and brave protagonist with gravitas and maturity. He looks really handsome throughout the film with the beard and in the second-half, he resembles his evergreen dad Nagarjuna in a number of scenes.
The debutant Manjima Mohan makes an impressive debut showing good chemistry with Chaitanya in the first-half and the terror-struck girl in the middle of an unfathomable conspiracy in the second. Baba Sehgal does pretty well as the corrupt cop. A special mention for another debutant who is multi-talented – Rakendu Mouli. He plays the role of hero’s best friend with ease and gets a meaty role. His talents however do not stop there. His name can be seen under the lyricist section as well and he dances comfortably too.
A.R.Rahman composed a few quirky numbers which however still fall short of his blockbusters and the wait for his next chartbuster album continues. His background score is top-notch though as it enhances the viewing experience. Dialogues by Kona Venkat ensure some memorable moments. The movie is laced with doses of humour to lighten up the mood. The director, Gautham Menon pulls all the right strings although one gets the feeling a slightly shorter film would have been even better.
First with “Premam” and now with “Sahasam Swasaga Sagipo”, Naga Chaitanya has carved a niche for himself this year. Now, the challenge is constantly finding scripts with this kind of roles. For now, he has another hit in his bag with a fresh and meaningful thriller.
Overall, “Sahasam Swasaga Sagipo” is another top film in the revolution Telugu Film Industry is undergoing this year and is a must watch.
The first fundamental reason Marvel’s juggernaut continues to be so successful in spite of the avalanche of superhero movies in the last decade is the casting. Starting from Robert Downey Jr. in Iron Man (2008) to Benedict Cumberbatch as Stephen Strange, the casting has been perfect. Cumberbatch and Downey played Sherlock on TV and film respectively because there is none in the industry better than them for portraying a brilliant and arrogant individual. So, it is perfectly logical for Cumberbatch to play the role of Dr. Strange which has a similar personality as that of Sherlock and Tony Stark.
Coming to the movie, Marvel continues to make origin stories work by making the necessary tweaks in its approach so that there always remains a freshness to the film. Doctor Strange remains fresh in spite of the many memories it evokes. The magic reminds of Harry Potter, the personality of Cumberbatch’s Sherlock, the character arc of Iron Man’s, the cloak of Aladdin’s magic carpet and the visuals of Christopher Nolan’s Inception. And yet, the movie does not overplay any of those and has its heart at the right place.
While the story remains similar to other origin stories, the way in which the story is told keeps it different from the ones before. Cumberbatch holds the audience’s gaze every time he is on-screen and portrays the supreme confidence, deep pathos and the transformation with conviction. Director Scott Derrickson who co-wrote the script patiently builds the character and at the end of the movie, ensures Strange has a long way to go to become the Sorcerer Supreme.
The visuals deserve a special mention. While the memories of Inception are understandable, it is fair to say Doctor Strange comes on top. In fact, this is the first Marvel movie that is actually worthy of watching in 3D. The action sequences in varying dimensions are one of the best pieces of visual work ever.
If there is one department Marvel continues to struggle, it is their villains. Their casting has never been a problem with top actors taking up the role (in this case Mads Mikkelsen), it is the lack of depth to them that is hurting. In this movie, Mikkelsen plays the antagonist without leaving a mark of any sort on the audience. One of the biggest reasons, Civil War worked so well is the pitting of heroes whose characters are fully developed against one another which ensured the audience could connect to them.
All in all, Doctor Strange opens Marvel’s doors to magic with a visually stunning film. The first half keeps you hooked throughout while the second half is predictable in terms of story and yet manages to keep you engaged. Marvel has tried to shy away from the traditional climaxes with a different one here that may not be to everyone’s liking. The mid-credits scene thrills every Marvel fan while the post-credits scene sets up the next part.
Doctor Strange does make one think whether an upcoming origin story might be the first failure they might encounter due to the common plot. However, they keep offering something different and till they keep doing that, they are unstoppable.