Friday, November 28, 2008

Three things you learn from ‘When Harry Met Sally’

'When Harry Met Sally' is one of my favorite comedies. The last Wednesday night I was watching it (again!). I noticed following three things:

1. Women wore their pants above their belly button in the 80s.

Thank God they don’t wear pants like that anymore.

2. Meg Ryan looks really horrible when she cries.

I always thought of Meg Ryan as epitome of cuteness. But man while crying she looks horrible!

3. Charlie Chaplin had babies when he was 73.

Really? Is that true?

Ok enough of bullshit. Those aren’t the things I want to talk about. 'When Harry met Sally' is always an intense emotional experience for me. (Dude, what are you talking about? Ain’t it supposed to be a romantic comedy?) Yes it is a comedy but it is lot more than a comedy. Every time I watch it something or other lingers with me. This time around the dialog that stuck with me was, when Sally says,
I can't do this anymore. I am not your consolation prize.
Now, I was like, why this particular line of all those snappy dialogs? I don’t know. The film ended. Harry and Sally finally fell in love and got married and probably lived happily ever after. But what about me? (ME????) All I could think about was,
I can't do this anymore. I am not your consolation prize.
It was already past 2 o’clock in the night but how could I sleep with that line ringing in my head?
I can't do this anymore. I am not your consolation prize.
I said “Hell!” and started watching Casablanca. (And yes I agree it is probably the greatest screenplay ever written.)

(Spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen Casablanca and you intend to see it, you don’t want to read any further.)
I can't do this anymore. I am not your consolation prize.
Weren’t these Rick’s exact emotions in the middle of the movie? But in the end Rick let’s Ilsa go with Victor Laszlo. He does it for love. He doesn’t get Ilsa, they don’t live happily ever after, yet in his own way Rick is complete. He is complete with love!

(It was 4:30 am when I finally slept that night. But yes I slept happily thereafter.)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Free Hugs Campaign

Tushar (my colleague and buddy) showed me this cool video. I thought I should share it on my blog.

From: Wikipedia
The Free Hugs Campaign is a social movement involving individuals who offer hugs to strangers in public places. The campaign in its present form was started in 2004 by an Australian man known only by the pseudonym "Juan Mann". The campaign became famous internationally in 2006 as the result of a music video on YouTube by the Australian band Sick Puppies.
Read rest of the article on Wikipedia

Friday, November 14, 2008

Dostana : Wonderfully Fresh

I love those starting scenes in movies which are shot from an airplane or a helicopter with camera sweeping over the sea, miles and miles of blue water. Quite a few Hollywood movies start this way and invariably after the shot you get to see lush green mountains and the jungle.

Dostana also starts with camera sweeping over the sea but instead of the green lush jungle it leads to a beach where there are lots of girls in bikinis and John Abraham in just a pair of trunks. Well it kind of ruined my scene since, somewhere subconsciously, I was expecting a jungle. Then I said to myself, “Well this is different.” By then my initial disappointment of not getting to see a jungle had subsided. (Who am I kidding? Girls in bikinis are way cooler than the jungles.)

Anyway after the first hot song featuring Shilpa Shetty finishes, the movie becomes even more interesting and funny. I really had a good laugh. The whole ‘gay part’ has been used very well to create humor. And we Indians being way more conservative than the west, the gay jokes are lot funnier than they are in the Hollywood movies. And what’s the best thing about the movie even if it is meant to be an out and out comedy? It has a story. So what if it is just the same three guys falling for the same girl type of the story, the presentation is something that has never been done in Bollywood before. Believe me. I agree all the characters (and in parts the story too) are stereotypical but the whole setting and presentation is so fresh that you just can’t help but admire it.

And apart from all of the above, there is Priyanka Chopra! She is a treat to watch and I guess for girls and gays there is John Abraham. Performance wise everybody has played their parts adequately. The comic timing and expressions are really good.

If it’s the weekend and you want have a ball, go watch Dostana.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Essentially Bond, but Which One?

Watched the latest bond movie ‘Quantum of Solace’ on the last Friday. I started writing this on the Firday itself, but couldn’t complete it. So I am completing it now.

The movie is good, worth watching once. (This means I am going to watch it at least twice.)

Release of a Bond movie has been always a special event in my life. I haven’t missed a single Bond movies since ‘Golden Eye’. When ‘Golden Eye’ released, I was some 13 years old and didn’t know much about English movies. Actually before watching ‘Golden Eye’, I didn’t even know that some great series of Bond movies existed and I hadn’t had slightest inkling about who Ian Fleming was. The only English movie I remember watching before ‘Golden Eye’ is ‘Jurasic Park’ (A separate post is required to narrate the experience). Of course I had watched a few Jackie Chan Karate movies but they never seemed Hollywoody to me. You see I am talking about the quintessential grand Hollywood action movie.

I still remember the walk I took from the Mamaji Talkies (an old theater in Bhusawal where I grew up) to my home after watching ‘Golden Eye’. Totally impressed by this handsome hero (which I later came to know was Pierce Brosnan). I even remember trying to suck in my cheeks a bit to create the hollow cheeks effect that Pierce Brosnan had. But since I was such a plump kid I never managed to imitate the look (and I guess one also need features like Pierce Brosnan to get that look. Ah! The disappointments of life.)

After that I never missed a single Bond movie and I have watched all of them (except for Quantum of Solace) at least three times each. I also watched quite a few Bond movies that were released prior to ‘Golden Eye’ but didn’t like them that much. This is the crux of the problem. Pierce Brosnan has become 'the' James Bond for me. And I have grown to identify the ‘Pierce Brosnan Bond movies’ as the Bond movies.

What was great about the Pierce Brosnan Bond movies is that they were out and out formula movies with only one objective: to entertain the viewer. There was no false pretense to touch the heart of the viewer.

Ever since Daniel Craig has took over as James Bond, the creators of the movies have tried to bring more emotional depth to the character of James Bond and to the movies too. I mean all this emotional depth and stuff is OK. But guys what about E.N.T.E.R.T.A.I.N.M.E.N.T. Most of the times the things like emotional depth translate to boring and the likes.

All I want to ask is: What is wrong with an out and out formula film? If I want to watch emotionally moving action flicks, haven’t I have got Clint Eastwood? Sometimes I think, this is what makes Steven Spielberg great. He understands the difference between an entertainment film and an emotionally rewarding film. He makes them both with equal dexterity.