Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Cheer

There's no other city in India that celebrates Christmas quite the way that Calcutta does. The Christmas cheer does not spare people of any religion - how else do you explain people from all religions walking up & down Park Street wearing Santa hats??!!

Park Street is another story in itself. It seems like the entire population of Calcutta has poured on to it. The street has been lit up since days. They apparently also had a Christmas Carnival that I missed. Flury's was packed to the gills with people queuing up outside the shop to have lunch there and buy Christmas cakes. Apparently, it's some kind of a Calcutta tradition to eat at Flury's on Christmas Day.

My day consisted of having lunch with my girl friends at my favourite Chinese restaurant in the city - Flavours of China - followed by plum cake at Flury's. And the weather is perfect - the winter chill accompanied by a bright, glowing sun. I am SO glad I spent Christmas in Cal rather than Sydney. There is something just very wrong about a summer Christmas.

Going by the rate I've been posting, I'm pretty sure I won't be posting again until after New Year's. So I hope you all had yourselves a Merry Christmas. Wish you a very Happy New Year and happy holidays :)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

'Rockstar' and 'Dirty Picture'

Let's start with 'Rockstar', shall we?

My expectations from this movie were sky high given that it was an Imtiaz Ali movie. I really liked 'Jab We Met' when I saw it - for the first and last time, thankfully. I refuse to watch a million re-runs of it on TV! I found Geet's character very endearing and it changed my opinion of Kareena Kapoor to a great extent. I still don't like her, but I've moved on from not being able to stand her at all. Didn't quite like 'Love Aaj Kal' but I suspect that had more to do with Deepika Padukone than the story itself

The reason I like Imtiaz Ali is because he is a good story-teller and his movies have a certain simplicity and innocence about them. The fact he's from the homeland helps of course :)

With a name like 'Rockstar', images of an unshaven Ranbir Kapoor singing in front of a thousand-strong crowd and a song like 'Sadda Haq' that is likely to become the anthem of a generation of people who are frustrated with everything that is wrong with their country, I was expecting the movie to be about a, well, 'rockstar'. In the metaphorical sense of the word. A rebel who inspires an entire generation of young people to fight for a cause. But the movie turned out to be the story of a guy who fucks up his life for a girl who doesn't know what she wants in life and who dies in the end anyway (whaaaaaa???)

The music is mostly uninspiring and not at all Rockstar-ish, except for 'Sadda Haq'. The story is convoluted and has you clutching your hair in frustration. Nargis Fakhri is even more stone faced than Deepika Padukone and can't talk like a normal human being - her definition of 'acting' is yelling every dialogue out at the same pitch. She can't talk normally.

The person who walks away with all the accolades is Ranbir Kapoor. This must be the first serious role of his life and you can tell he's given everything he had to it. His character is really intense, yet there isn't a scene where he goes over the top and makes you cringe. Worth watching only for him, stay away if you're an Imtiaz Ali fan. I guess it's too late in the day to be saying that :)


The Dirty Picture

Have you watched it? Did you like it?

Do I need to say that Vidya Balan hits the ball out of the park with this one and blows all the competition away with her acting chops? She is the hero of the movie, even Naseeruddin Shah pales in comparison to her. Who was the last actress one could say this about...Smita Patil? Shabana Azmi?

To play Silk Smitha on screen - at least as she is depicted in this movie - required balls and Vidya Balan has taken it head-on. Forget the acting - that's kind of a given when it comes to her. But to be as uninhibited as she is on screen - with her boobs and love handles all over the screen and faking and thrashing around on a bed in a red negligee, faking an orgasm...I'm not sure many actresses would have been comfortable doing that. Or pulled it off with such aplomb.

The movie isn't perfect. It's got its share of flaws and WTF moments, such as an extra song and a love track that is least convincing and doesn't go anywhere. But it is definitely a very engaging story. And there's the 'Ooh la la ooh la la' song that's stuck in my head even 3 days after I watched the movie. Bappi Lahiri rocks, doesn't he?