Udta Punjab

After a long long time I was super excited about some movie. The trailer had come out in March and it was a power packed trailer. I simply loved it and must have watched it umpteen times. Meanwhile I also discovered Diljit Dosanjh through it and became his fan by the time the movie released. I do not remember when was the last time I did an advance booking for a movie and watched it the first day itself! I was super excited to watch this one.

Here is my review of the movie:
The movie is about the rampant drug addiction in the state of Punjab. It tells about the current state of affairs as they stand in terms of drugs. The theme is depicted through the lives of four individuals and how they are impacted by drugs in various ways. The film starts with a packet of Heroine being hurled from the other side of the border into India. I did not know before this that smuggling drugs to India was so simple!! And thus follows the arduous journey of Kumari Pinky, Tommy Singh, Sartaj and Dr Preet Sahni who are either too deep in this muck of drug consumption or are trying to fight the drug menace. The subject of the film is that drugs are bad. They do no good, and the film does not deviate from its main message for the most part of it. This film is less of a story and more of a narration through focus on the four lead characters. Honestly before this movie, I was not aware about the problem of drug consumption in Punjab. I am surprised how such a big issue never surfaced in discussions at national level. The film depicts this part too well. A lot of the movie is in Punjabi and that goes very well with the background and subject as well. The entire film is shot in Punjab and that lends a lot of authenticity. The entire subject has been treated very really, the nexus between police and politicians and how they have completely turned a blind eye towards this matter to make their riches is all very well depicted. As I said earlier, the film does not have a great story- it is more of a peep into the lives of the four main characters and their fight against drugs.
Tommy Singh the rockstar has been played by Shahid brilliantly. I guess an actor of the level of Shahid Kapoor can only do justice to Tommy Singh. He is amalgamation of all your Punjabi pop starts put together. He sniffs cocaine, is high all the time, is loud, an exhibitionist and himself unaware of what he is propagating. At a point in the movie he himself confesses how he started making songs on drugs at a young age since that is all that he knew, and how his fans made that the philosophy of their lives. He has portrayed his character brilliantly. From an over confident, full of himself addicted pop singer to a helpless, under confident guy he does justice to the character. He also makes us crack into peals of laughter every time he comes on screen. The entire Tommy Singh saga is very well supported by his “crew” “Gabru da Crew” (as written on their t-shirts). Satish Kaushik, and the guy who plays his cousin have done a brilliant job as well. I loved how they break into expletives at any given opportunity, and it blends so well with the narrative that even though the film has truckloads of them, never do at any place they feel overdone.

Alia Bhat plays a Bihari migrant. She is one gem of an actor. She is actually the highlight of the movie. A district level hockey player she is forced to become a migrant labor in the farms of one of the landlords in Punjab, her life turns upside down when she gets hold of that Heroine packet thrown from across the border. Alia has played the character brilliantly. It is hard to believe that she is so new in the industry. She surpasses all other actors in the movie. Infact her character has also been written brilliantly. Her part is the most edgy. The moment she comes on screen you start rooting for her, you kind of feel protective about the character. It is depressing to see how poor people especially females suffer the drug menace. She is abused and used throughout, but her spirit is still unbreakable till the end. The scenes where she is kept inside a room in a dazed state and is repeatedly raped and given drugs are the most heart wrenching. A scene which stood out for me was an elderly sikh talks to her when she is first kidnapped and addresses her as “puttar” and very politely asks her why she threw crore worth of Heroine, and the way he then leaves her in the room with some men, sends shivers down the spine. The director has really handled the Alia part very very well

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However, the same cannot be said for Kareena Kapoor. Hers is the easiest role in the movie, as in without many challenges. She is good, but unfortunately fails to impress amid the other stronger characters. Though I loved her perfect Punjabi/ accent in the movie.

And last but not the least Diljit Dosanjh. I am a HUGE fan of his. I liked him in this movie. He surely is up for many more Hindi movies now. He plays Sartaj who is a corrupt policeman until he discovers that his own brother is a drug addict and then joins Kareena in her crusade against drugs. He is convincing and sincere throughout and does full justice to his character. There is one super cute scene when he wants to say something to Kareena, but gets nervous and leaves his sentence midway and leaves the room just by saying ..”tata”. O my God, he is so cute in that!

So on the positive side, the movie has been able to bring forth the picture in Punjab in a very able manner. I am sure this subject is going to be of much debates and discussions in the upcoming Punjab elections. The movie has been absolutely successful in bringing people’s attention to this issue. Craft wise, the movie deals with the subject with complete honesty, without any cover ups and therefore is quite raw at places, but that is the demand of the subject. How the complete narco business operates with its roots deep down in the system has been etched to perfection. The language and humor sprinkled all throughout adds authenticity to the treatment. The parts which show the fight of the drug users to get out of this habit make you feel so helpless. One can actually feel the turmoil Alia’s character goes through when she vomits and puts a rolled paper in her mouth to curb the addiction. The way young guys have been seen lying around in groups inserting injections after injections, hiding behind dark glasses, you feel sorry for them. It is saddening to see the plight of the people in the state. Another noticeable thing is the ending of the movie. The makers have not gone into providing solution to the problem. They have kept the focus on bringing the actual situation to the limelight and left it at that. No elaborate dialogues, no dramatic scenes to end the movie.

There are some things which could have been done better though. First is the length of the movie. Its not slick enough. There are many scenes which could have been left out. Like the Diljit- Kareena romance. I mean is it necessary that when two single young people meet, there has to be a romantic angle? While their chemistry was quite good, but that track was totally unnecessary. It would have been far mature to show them just as two people fighting against the same thing.
Spoiler Ahead- I did not understand why Kareena’s character had to be killed! I mean that had no impact on the watchers. For a moment I was kind of surprised, is she really dead? Why? And the circumstances in which she dies are also unreal- as she is in/ near a hospital, still no efforts to save her. Then Alia gets kidnapped twice by the same people. This was just not needed. Basically the narrative could have been more streamlined with some parts totally avoided. And lastly- Diljit should have spoken more Punjabi. All the characters speak in Punjabi- throughout most part of the movie. However, Diljit speaks the least Punjabi! Though he does a good job with Hindi as well, but in Punjabi the effect would have been different.

The songs of the movie are just amazing. My favorite is “Hass le nach le..”- sung by Shahid Mallya. Whoever this guy is, he has a golden voice. His version of “Ik Kudi..” is also mind blowing. Amit Trivedi is one killer of a music director. So guys, if you have not watched the movie as yet, please go ahead and watch it to support good cinema.

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Movie Review- Dil Dhadakne Do

I took an off on Wednesday. I had to go for my learning license to RTO office, so I thought that I will complete this work and then will have lunch with husband sans K (leaving her at in-laws place). Second half was reserved for K. However, my work at the RTO office got over in 2 hours and by 10 30 I was out of the office. Impulsively I decided to go for a movie and DDD was the only choice as I am not very fond of English movies. I rushed to the nearest theatre to catch the 11 am show. Ha, after a long time I was going for a movie and that too alone..:)

If I have to just sum up in one line- I would say I liked the movie. Just like any other Zoya Akhtar movie, this too is plan simple story, with subtle messages. It is not as great as ZMD, but its worth a watch. Rather, some parts of the movie can be watched again as well.

Story is about a rich Delhi family, who are too much into pretending things. The business is not doing so well, so the head of the family Mr Mehra decides to organize a cruise for his family and friends to attract people to invest in their company. There are two kids- Ayesha and Kabir played by Priyanka and Ranveer Singh. Everyone is in a tricky stage in life. Ayesha is married to a man whom she has failed to fall in love with. Kabir finds himself a no- fit for taking over father’s business, but is trying to fit in to meet the family expectations and abide by the patriarchal set up. Once aboard the cruise, the Mehra family starts discovering the sides of themselves they were scared to bring to the surface. There are realizations, there are new relationships, up and eventually the family comes out more liberated and happy from the state they embarked this journey with.

The film is smooth, no major ups and down…the story flows naturally covering the entire gamut of Mehras and their brethren. What I liked most about the film is Anil Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra. Both of them have come out as the best of the lot. Anil Kapoor has played his part perfectly well and also gets a lot of screen space. Follows him is Priyanka, who is absolutely stunning in her role. Though I did not find her role very convincing but she has portrayed whatever was given to her with full honesty. She definitely is one of the better actors we have today. Ranveer comes a close second. He is like a breath of fresh air in the over pitched dramatic family. His role is well written and is quite well constructed, and he does complete justice to it. However, star for me was Farhan Akhtar, he comes post interval, but his mere presence on the screen lights it up! He is so handsome and so perfect for this role. He plays Priyanka’s ex- flame who is also her dad’s manager’s son, whom she was very close to at some point in her life. After trying to adjust in her arranged marriage with Manav (played by Rahul Bose) she realizes that while she is clearly unhappy with him, she still has feelings for her ex, who onboards the cruise midway. I liked the chemistry between Farhan and Priyanka. Their scenes together are too good. Both look very convincing playing their characters. The whole movie infact is on the similar lines as ZNMD- how we are conditioned to “fit” into the pre decided roles in the society we are expected to play, never taking in to consideration our own happiness. In ZNMD it was told through a story of three friends discovering what truly gives them happiness and peace- here its more direct. A son being the name bearer of the family, patriarchal structure expecting women to live in whatever shit they may face after marriage, women expected to give in and not question, men supposed to take up the family business ahead even when they have zero aptitude for it (and the deserving daughter being ignored, even though she is the one with business acumen) ..etc.

While all the characters are written convincingly, I could not reconcile Ayesha aka Priyanka’s character. She is shown to be a business woman, a self-made at that. She has her name in Forbes top 50 list etc, but her traits which she displays within her family, are quite submissive and that of a non-confronter. I mean why would someone who is financially independent and capable, take so long to discover that the husband is an ass hole and needs to be shown the door right away! I may be wrong in my assessment, but in my mind I could not add up her personality traits.

Also, the writers could have been more liberal towards the end, by showing that Neelam-aka Mrs Mehra, finally decides to leave her husband- her rich successful husband, who she knows has been blatantly cheating on her. The end was kept to please the larger audience I guess.

Overall, it is a good movie. Worth watching.

I would give it 3.5/ 5…:)

And did I tell you, I am in love with this song…

Day 10- Movie and Locations

I wrote a post yesterday for today. However, had to leave it halfway as it was already 1 am. Now I am not feeling like continuing with the same post. I want to write about something else. I am watching Highway. this is the second time I am watching this movie, but unfortunately this time also, I missed the first half. I loved whatever part of the movie I saw though. Movies should be like this. Shot in real locations. It is so lovely to watch movies which are shot at the right places, in real places. they become so much more convincing! I always have a problem with movies which are either shot in studios (even the outdoors are a set); or shot at wrong locations (movie based in Delhi, but it is clear that it has been shot in Mumbai only!). It just takes away the real pleasure of watching a movie. For me if the locations are convincing, I am already half way through in liking the movie. Highway is one such movie, apart from many other things, the locations are a highlight of the movie. It has been shot on the roads, in real roadways buses, in real streets of Delhi, in real trucks. The locations do half of the talking. They just transport you to those places, you can relate to the characters so much better. This is one of reasons why I like almost all of Hrishikesh Mukherjee and Basu Chaterjee movies. Be it Golmaal, Chupke Chupke, Baaton Baaton Mein, Choti Si Baat, all these have been shot at real locations. They were shot in those middle class locations, which formed a key part of the movie. Like the BEST buses and Mumbai roads in Choti si baat, where the hero keeps following the girl all the time, or the Mumbai local in Baaton Baaton Mein, where the cartoonist Amol Palekar tries to woo the demure Tina Munim through his drawings and passing letters to her uncle via other passengers. Contrary to this, the larger than life and almost fake looking mansions of KJo movies. I mean I can still digest the big palace like houses, but a fake Chandani Chowk- a big NO! very difficult to digest. Infact, a movie like Dilli 6, which had no story, was also tolerable, because it explored the old part of Delhi so well. I like the effort put in by film makers in scavenging the right locations for their movies, to make scenes look real, because it is so annoying to see a story set in Delhi, with the hero driving a car with a Mumbai number ..:(

I leave you with a couple of songs from movies where the locations add so much credibility to the scenes.

Look at this song from Choti Si Baat- Amol Palekar riding a scooter in Mumbai:

A scene from Chashmebaddoor. The whole movie was shot in the Delhi of 80’s. Wide roads lined with trees, huge parks, a treat to watch. The room which the friends shared is also a real location, not some studio.

I wanted to post one of the scenes from this classic movie Katha, but individual scenes are not available on You Tube. Therefore posting the link of the entire movie..:) The whole movie is shot in a real chawl. Not only the script and acting by the awesome cast is wonderful, the actual settings just add so much conviction to the movie.

this post will be continued…

R is for Rani Mukherjee

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As I opened the page to type a post with R, news flashed that Rani Mukherjee got married to Aditya Chopra in Italy last night. After lot of speculations and rumors of their being already married, the couple finally tied the knot. I am huge bollywood fan. Not only movies, but I am generally aware of all gossips I can lay my hands on about the people of bollywood. Therefore my admiration for the actors in bollywood comes from my liking for their performances as well as their general conduct which I gather from interviews, magazines, TV etc. Like, I am a huge Madhuri Dixit fan, huge as in HUGE. I love her immensely, and die for her dance. However, when I came to know that she danced at the Saifai Mahotsav for the UP government; I did not like it. I expected more responsible behavior from Mrs Nene. Anyway, since the time I had heard about Rani – Aditya relationship, I kind of stop admiring the actress. He was a married man after all. I know this is very common in B- town, but it still forces me to think why do these women chose already married men to get marrried to? I mean I know they “fall in love”, but at the cost of what? A broken home! Just like Sridevi did. I saw Arjun Kapoor’s interview in Koffee with Karan, and I really felt bad for the guy.

I know this is a very complicated topic and may be I am being judgmental  here as I do not even know these people personally; but at this stage in life such marriages look very wrong to me. If given a chance, someday I would definitely like to do some research on what goes on in mind of such people.

R is also for Ranveer Singh. Now this is a guy I really like. Among all the new guys in the industry these days, I find this one really different. He is a riot on screen. Be it the movies or chat shows or any award functions, he is a delight to watch always! The spontaneity and jest he displays in his performances at award functions, he is the most paisa vasool actor of current times. I loved his first movie Band Baaja Bride. I thought that he was from either Delhi or some place in Western UP. When I discovered that he is a Bandra boy, I was totally surprised. Everything about him in the movie was so very real!! Any award functions he hosts..he is without any inhibitions, any pretensions..he is a total Bhaand! Wish he keeps entertaining like this for a long time…

Q is for Queen

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Q is for Queen. While I have already done a review of the movie earlier on this blog. There is still something more which I want to say about the movie.  I wish the movie had come earlier, when I had a heartbreak few years back. I sometimes wonder, why did it takes movie makers so long to come out with a story, which shows how things actually should be. Why it is absolutely incorrect to portray love/ relationships as the only goal of a woman’s  life.  Yes, companionship is important, but nothing in this word is important than you! Your happiness. And happiness ideally should not be a function of whether you have a guy in your life or not. If there is one, and you are happy with him, great! Else, finding The One, should not be the sole purpose of life. I believe in marriage very firmly; the companionship aspect of it.  But finding this companion should not be the only reason for one’s existence. Yes, its very very important to have a partner for life time if you believe in having one, but then this is not ALL life is about. Life has many many more facets and exploring them all is what a full life is about. Keep living life, experiencing it, and all good things will happen in good time. And even if they do not, it is not the end. After watching Queen I feel, how wrong were the messages being propelled by even the best of Bollywood films all these years. A guy dumps you, do not worry, happiness will return in the form of another guy! and when its happens, it is The happy ending! Gosh! it sounds so incorrect now. Be it Geet of JWM or Pooja of DTPH, happiness= a man by your side. I am so glad that someone out there decided to write Queen. Thank You so much Mr Story Writer. I hope that we have many more films like this in the coming days and years. Given the tremendous impact Bollywood has in our lives, I am sure the society’s outlook will also change in due course of time.

K is for Koffee with Karan

or as Husband calls it- Chai with Charan!!..:)

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This is one show which I like. While I am not very fond of the host himself, I like the show overall. Some of the guests are totally entertaining and sometimes honest too. Its fun watching the show.

Here are the top few episodes from the show which I really liked.

1. The one with Ranveer Singh and Arjun Kapoor.

This guys Ranveer Singh is a total entertainer. He rocked the couch with his fantastic performance. Be it the bit about his encounter with hot girls while his stay in the US, or his genuine hug to Arjun Kapoor when the latter talked about his personal life; the guy just rocks. He is among the rare bollywood celebrities we have who sound honest and believable. I love how this guy is so comfortable in his own skin and doesn’t need to be all pretentious to be a star.  As one of our friends calls him- he is a total “bhaand”- a word used for an entertainer in olden times.

I liked Arjun Kapoor’s part also. The way he spoke about his personal life, his father’s second marriage, his mom etc, it was one of the few times an actor was so open about his life and feelings in the show. I like this guy. Though on the acting front he still needs to work a lot, he sounds sensible otherwise.

 

2. The one with Hema Malini and Zeenat Amaan

I am not a very big fan of Hema Malini, except for her gorgeous looks which I really admire. Candid confession is the last thing I expect from actors of that era. But in this episode she got added in the list of cool stars who can admit about their affairs and flings and not make fake attempts to sound all pious and clean all the time. When asked about her affairs with some of her contemporaries, the graceful lady sounded all cool when she said- Whatever rumors were there were all true!! Even Karan looked all surprised, because that is not what you expect from the yesteryear’s divas!! ..:)

Oh, and what to say about Zeenat Amaan…the lady is elegance personified. Check out the part when they talk about directors trying to shoot scenes without the women knowing. The ladies are awesome!!

 

3. The one with Gauri Khan and Suzzanne Roshan

This episode was aired in one of the initial seasons. While I am not a big fan of either of the star wives, there was a discussion in the episode which has stayed with me forever. Gauri Khan talks about her relationship where she mentions how would she deal with her husband cheating on her. I loved her response!! Though I remember the gist of it, you guys must watch it here…

I was hugely surprised by Hrithik’s and Suzzanne’s divorce. How time changes…

4. The one with the Kapoor siblings

I am a big fan of Rishi Kapoor. This episode had Rishi, Randheer, Rajeev Kapoor and their sister Reema Jain.

Man, it was laughter riot! the way Reema Jain was hiding her nervousness by over speaking and loud participation, it was hilarious!! The Kapoor’s are an entertaining lot on and off screen both! Infact, I have watched a couple of other Rishi Kapoor’s interviews, and i really like his honesty and candidness.

 

5. The one with Madhuri Dikshit and Juhi Chawla

I love Madhuri Dikshit. On screen that is. Off screen, it is very difficult to sit through her over diplomatic approach. She is the queen of diplomacy! and this episode was a testimony to that. Thanks to Juhi Chawla, who made up for all the over sweetness being spread on the show. God! was she candid…she was plain honest! and I just loved her honesty. The way she accepted her insecurity for not accepting Karishma’s role in DTPH, for it had Madhuri in the lead role; or her larger than life image of her after the success of Darr, which led her to make many mistakes in choosing films. This lady is really sweet. Love her honesty. If only Mrs Nene could be a bit more herself, than trying to be extremely good all the time, except of course if she actually is that ways in real life too…which must be equally annoying anyway!!

 

Apart from the above I also liked the episodes with the Student of the Year gang. I like Alia Bhatt. She has a great on screen presence. The one with Aamir Khan and Kiran Rao, the chemistry which the couple shares is fabulous!!  the first episode of the show with SRK and Kajol was also good. They are a blast together. SRK of that era was quite tolerable also, and Kajol I guess has not changed much over time.

So here is my list. Which are your favorite episodes from the show??

Queen- Movie Review

I watched the movie Queen few days back. I had heard quite good reviews so decided to watch this one. And did I like it?…I simply loved it!!

Its a beautiful movie. After a long long time I have seen a movie which stays with you much after you have walked out of the theater. The story is something like this- Rani (Kangana Ranaut) is a simple middle class girl from a Punjabi colony of Delhi who has been brought up in a fairly patriarchal environment. A family friend’s son falls in love with her and she is about to get married to him, when just before the D- Day, the guy dumps her saying that he has grown in a different direction and theirs’would not be a good match.

The heart broken Rani returns home and tells her parents, that she wants to go on her honeymoon alone. The family does not resist, and so begins the self discovering journey of Rani, which is the soul of this film.

This film is fantastic!! On her trip Rani meets various people, of different language, culture, countries. She becomes friends with some, and with them experiences life, the various shades of it. She realizes how it is ok to be able to dance freely, make friends, experience new things…basically it is ok to do things which make you truly happy; It is ok to live life. Live life which is free of any obligations to give explanations to people around, to fit in a frame someone else created for you, to just be happy with yourself, and not necessarily find happiness through someone else…a man!

Kangana as Rani is just amazing. She is so much into the character that you will only be able to see a Rani Mehra, not Kangana Ranaut. The director has done a fabulous job of creating believable characters and situations. The dialogues are absolutely amazing and some one liners are just fabulous. I simply loved the climax of the movie. There was no confrontation, no explanation giving; the lady just walks off…for she has now discovered happiness and the true way of life, where she just does not holds any grudges against anyone. No drama, again emphasizing the fact that the focus of your life is you. The value of liberation is much higher than any false ego and the likes.

The best part about the movie which I liked was- that the writer/ director has not shown that a dumped or heartbroken woman can only be rescued by another man. No. A woman may not always need a man to be happy. Yes, companionship is wonderful, but only when it comes in a form of someone who truly respects you. Till then life does not have to stop. It can and should go on, happily, revealing its many other worthy and enjoyable facets; and if and when a man happens, embrace the relationship and again move on. I always use to wonder why in all the movies and most books I had read, the story always reveals itself in a way, that whenever a girl is dumped or gets heartbroken, her happiness always necessarily comes back in the form of a guy! Why?? No movie or book, ever shows a woman gathering herself and finding happiness in anything other than a man. Even in one of my favorite movie Jab We Met- I always wondered, what if there was no Shahid Kapoor? Does every female who goes through this..finds her Shahid Kapoor to rescue her? Queen answers that!! in a lovely way!

Even after two weeks of watching it, the taste of the movie still lingers on…