Friday, August 21, 2009

Wake Up S!d --- Music review

Recently John Hughes passed away who has made some of the finest coming of age films of all time like "16 Candles" , "The Breakfast Club" and "Ferris Beuller's Day Off". He portrayed the young teenagers in a very real and comic way . His films are still relevant as they were 25 years ago and are also some of my favourites . Now we have Ayan Mukerji from Dharma Productions who is also trying his hand on the same genre . What was remarkable in Hughes' films was that they were very simple and portrayed whatever that they wanted in a very simple manner . The same simplicity is what I got to observe in this album too . The music here is by Shankar Ehsaan Loy (K Jo's favourite) and lyrics are also by Javed Akhtar (another favourite) . In past the trio and the lyrical genius have done wonders and the same is expected from them every time they come together . I am very very happy to see a change in Dharma Productions who is now focusing on making a bit different films than usual lavish films that they are associated with .

The first song on the album is the title track which has vocals by Shankar himself . The track has some nice guitar pieces in it which is a feature that has been maintained throughout the album .
I love the way song goes from a soft slow mode to a rock mode and that too in a nice way and not an abrupt way . The music on the entire album for that matter seems to be an extension to Rock On!! Album but in my view it is not . This one has more of a soft rock feel in most of the songs on the album . Well , the lyrics on this one are also nice and Javed sir has done a good job as usual . The song introduces Sid and his character in the film in a nice way . The film seems to be a bit similar to Lakshya , the music and lyrics of which were by the same team . Though the songs here are very different and even lyrics are different . The backing vocals in this song by Loy Mendonsa are also nice . Overall , its a good track to begin the album with and has also done full justice to the title of the film .

Next comes , Kya Karoon? , by Clinton Cerejo which has a nice fresh feel . I always like the sound of harmonica because it very well captures the "easy going happy go lucky " feel and it has been used in this track very nicely . A nice slow track which has good lyrics and "kya karu" seems to be catchy. NICE is a word that I'll be using very much throughout the review because it is a word that very well summarizes the album . And Nice doesn't mean that it is not very good . It is great but in a very subtle way that will probably make you happy . Clinton has provided the song that fresh young feel that was required through his vocals and he is nicely supported by Dominique and Loy . In all its a nice :) song that would look great along with the story in the film . It is almost like those songs that one usually hears in background in many Hollywood films . The lyrics capture the feelings of youth in a nice way throughout the album and also in this song .

"Aaj Kal Zindagi" comes next which reminded me a bit of "Kaisi Hai Ye Rut" from Dil Chahta Hai . The beats in this one are similar to that one . That one was a beautiful track sung by Srinivas who did a great job . This one has vocals by Shankar himself who also as usual has done a great job . This one is somewhat of a feel good inspirational song which has a good melody and lyrics . One nice thing that I observed is that most of the tracks on the album are short and only around 4 minutes long . This in my view is ideal length for any song and songs like these don't even hinder the pace of the film and keep it going . I hope the film is also short and concise like the songs with no unnecessary elongation .

Then comes probably the best track on the album but there is a catch , this one has been composed by Amit Trivedi .Though this song is by a different composer it still doesn't stand out and has maintained the spirit of the album and is of the same league as others and Amit needs to be complimented for that . It is different than others but has the same quality of simplicity in it too . Lyrics wise also this song is the best on the entire album and Jaaved sir has done a fabulous job on this track . The only song which has female vocals and Kavita Seth has done a great job here . She has given it a nice classical feel along with Amitabh Bhattacharya . Both of them have a nice fresh voice quality which goes along with the theme of the soundtrack . Amit Trivedi is definately a find and he is proving that with his work . He has already proved himself in Aamir and Dev-D but here he has stood along with an already established trio of music directors and shown that he is no less and done a good job . Though the music is good and soulful but the strongest point of the song are its lyrics and singing . Full marks to Kavita for her nice Classical Sufiana singing . I would love to hear a bit more of her . Javed sir has also very nicely used the word "iktara".... I am a bit crazy i guess but i would have loved to see this picturised in a bit of rain and also a bit dark , in monsoons, as if time has stopped .

Then at last comes "Life is Crazy", again by Shankar who has been supported by Uday Benegal .All of the songs on the album talk about life in general and its surprising but there is no love song on the entire album . This one is also talks about life and its different elements of happiness . It also calls it crazy and both the singers do that in a stylish way . This song also has a soft rock kinda feel and has a nice pacy rhythm .

One complaint that I have against Shankar is that he is now singing just too many songs on his albums . This one has 4 songs by them(SEL) out of which shankar features on 3 of them . No doubt he is a fabulous singer but he should rather sing a few songs else the audience would get a bit bored with him and all the songs on his album would sound the same .

Lastly comes a remix version of the title track which is also nice and would work more than the original one among the masses . This one has been titled as "Club Mix" and it would work in clubs and discs for sure . The sound of ticking clock in the bgining sounds good , even in the original one . This one is a more faster version and sounds like those songs by teenage bands in the west .

Overall , its a very NICE and different soundtrack and its strength lies in its simplicity .There are no unnecessary remix versions and most songs are of appropriate length .SEL and Javed Sir have done a good job once again . I am looking forward to this film now even more than before I was . Lets hope the film also has something good in store . Its good that UTV has this film with them , they'll do a good job with publicity . One thing UTV is doing great is that it is bringing the commercial and off beat film makers in the same domain and a bit closer than before .

Album Rating : Four out of Five ; Pretty fresh and definately worth listening .

Friday, August 14, 2009

Kaminey --- Movie Review

Hmmm , where do I start ?? ...Some films are not easy to review because an experience has to be experienced , it is actually hard to put it on paper . This is exactly what Kaminey is , an experience . Lets start from the beginning . The film doesn't take time out for introducing the characters one by one , they get introduced by themselves , by default . By the time titles would begin you would get engrossed in the film and the people who generally make noise during the beginning of the film in the cinema hall would get silent by the end of it .

Kaminey begins on a comic cum thrilling note . The comic side belonging to Guddu (the stuttering Shahid) and the thrilling side belonging to Charlie (the F ko F bolne waala Shahid - the lisping one) . Priyanka aka Sweety , the marathi mulgi , does her job well in the begining itself and director Vishal manages to give film an almost perfect start (have to say almost perfect bcoz there is no such thing as perfect :) ) . The lisping and stuttering would make you laugh at the characters but still establish that connect with them . One by one all the characters come into play and start getting connected with one another through a Guitar and a Girl . The girl being Priyanka Chopra .

Making life what it is(Kamini) around Guddu , Sweety and Charlie are characters like Bhope Bhau , Tashi , Mikhail , Lobo and Lele . All of them unique and all entangled in a complex world of chrime, money and power . The cultural diversity in the film is one thing to watch where Mikhail and his brothers are Bengali , Tashi and Lobo are Christians , Guddu who is actually Sanjay Sharma is a Hindu and Bhope Bhau and Sweety being Marathi .There are also some foreigners in the film .Bhope Bhau who is a true Marathi Manus and against all north indians has been briliantly played by Amol Gupte . He has done full justice to the character and has played the part of an aspiring politician who uses this "Marathi Manus Ideology" for getting a ticket to contest in the elections . His character has maximum weightage in the film apart from Shahid and Priyanka . The film is made up of these so many different Characters and it completely belongs to them . All characters are important and everyone of them has a mean(kamini) side . The director has even gone ahead and shown the mean side of a small Kid who also plays a very small and comic part in the film . Every character has been perfectly casted and it is these characters that make the film so strong .

Kaminey for its maximum length belongs to Shahid and it won't be wrong to say that it is completely his film . It is his best and most mature performance till date and his hard work comes across on the screen . He has worked really hard for both of the characters and has put up a fabulous performance . The two characters being completely different , Shahid has got a rare opportunity to express all different shades of a personality on-screen . His is the toughest part and to act that well shows his progress as an actor . He has already become the new superstar and now his acting skills would also get appreciated which would further increase his stardom for sure . Pankaj sir will be so proud of him after watching the film . Vishal has given him ample space to perform and he has delivered according to his expectations . Though Priyanka's part in the film was small but certainly a very important one and one that required great efforts from her too . She also has equally worked hard and given her best . She is just fabulous in the film and her chemistry with Shahid is something to watch out for . She plays this part of a crazy marathi girl effortlessly and would certainly make you smile . She is adorable and for that matter both Shahid-Priyanka as a couple are also adorable and look cute . They both are stars and of the type who can also act . Chandan Roy is also good as Mikhail .

I am trying to avoid myself from letting out the plot details because it is pretty exciting to watch them unfold one by one . The comic caper genre that Vishal has attempted in the film has worked like wonders . It is officially now first of its kind , opening the gates for many other Directors to attempt this genre also . The story is different to an extent but what is best is the treatment that Vishal has given to the story . The screenplay is great and there are several memorable sequences in the film . Some of them that come immediately to my mind is the sequence between Bhope and Mikhail(Charlie's Friend) , then there is one with the kid , the interrogation sequence and last but certainly not the least the climax sequence . The climax of the film is what you call 'climax' exactly and it is this part which decides the fate of the film . It is this part that will please the majority of the audience and would make it a sure shot hit .

Techinically also its a very strong film and the cinematography by Tassaduq Hussain is top notch . Several locations of mumbai have been shown in a never before manner and the sequences with Rains have also been shot perfectly . I have a thing for shots in the heavy rain and I just loved them in the film .The steady-cam shots which are on the move have also been done in a beautiful manner and are technically sound . The film's story spans just within a complete day and hence it moves at a rapid pace which is another plus point about the film .The editing department has done a great job in this respect . The music of the film is no doubt great and it also adds a lot to the film . Its a dark film but still is not that dark and suits the taste of Indian audience . The dialogues of the film are just great and have been written very well . The actors have very well delivered them too in the way they should have been .

I am trying my best not miss out any of the positive points from the film because there are just so many and this is also the reason that from the release of Omkara till date I have not written anything about the film because its tough . Regarding the negatives from the film , the only negative that I thought was that why very less time was given to fabulous characters like lobo, lele , tashi and mikhail . They were such interesting characters and the actors were also brilliant and could have given so much to the characters . The only explanation to this would possibly be the length of the film which had to be kept minimal for the general audience . One request to the producers and director , please release a Director's Cut of the film(at least on DVD) so that I can enjoy these characters at a full length .

Lastly comes Vishal Bhardwaj , the captain of the ship . Absolutely fabulous job ! kudos to him ! This one is a completely different film from Omkara and he has again done a great job . Omkara is a classic and it is hard to get over such a film . But he has not only managed to do that but also given this film a completely fresh feel , the only common thing being the characters which are so real and so on ground . Vishal Sir , please don't ever think of the censor certificate and keep making films as real as possible and let the censor board change itself . He has managed to do something that many have tried to attempt before but have messed up somewhere . He is an actor's dream director now for sure . Please continue working like this and bring such good and entertaining stories for us on celluloid . By the way the film also qualifies for the "Paisa Vasool" kinda audience and they will also love it .

Go watch it . Forget the swine for some time !!! :)

One personal opinion that I want to put forward in this review is that Omkara was more of Vishal's film than Kaminey is . It had so much more on the psychological level that had to be handled by him only and he did that in a way that actually bowls me over every time I watch that film . But I don't want to take anything away from him and Kaminey beacause the two are completely different kind of films .

Movie Rating : Four and Half Stars out of Five ; don't even think of missing it and Mumbaikars and Poonawaalas please wait and don't resort to piracy .

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Dil Bole Hadippa --- Music Review

Rani Mukerji's come back film Dil Bole Hadippa is all set to release and the music of the film is out now . The title track is already on-air and strangely even its remix version has also been released on television which is usually kept for publicity at the last stages . Since Shahid-Priyanka are the flavour of the season, I guess the producers of both Whats Your Rashee and Dil Bole Hadippa are cashing in on the hype generated by Kaminey and hence released there promos much before the scheduled time . Rani would be a bit disappointed since she was suppose to be the USP of the film not Shahid . And maybe this could also be the reason why the remix video has been released in a haste , just to show the new avatar of Rani Mukerji . Anyways, this is a music review and I should talk about the music . Well , its got Pritam (once again) and Jaideep Sahni as the Lyricist . Pritam has had a decent year with New York and Love Aaj Kal doing well on the music charts so same is expected from this album .

This one is a completely different soundtrack in the sense that it is a complete Punjabi soundtrack with very less scope for Hindi . This is probably the first time something like this has been attempted in a commercial Hindi film soundtrack . First comes the title track on the soundtrack , Hadippa , which is a nice Punjabi track with a decent bit of lyrics . The song is already on air in the promos of the film and is getting quite popular . Love Aaj Kal lacked a kick-ass Punjabi song and also Mika . That deficiency has been removed by Pritam here with this track . Pritam and Jaideep have together done a good job on this track and have given the soundtrack a good start with this song . It is the best track on the entire album .

Next comes , Discowale Khisko , which disappoints right away and spoils the mood set up by the first track . This one is so below average in terms of both music and lyrics . The lyrics are awful and so commercial that they remind of the songs from Tashan . In terms of Music Pritam has almost done nothing because the music is so like any typical Punjabi track . This shitty track has vocals by some good singers like KK and Sunidhi .

"Ishq hi Rab Hai" comes next which is the only soft romantic track in the album . Sonu and Shreya Ghoshal together have together sung some of the finest tracks and have never done an average track like this one . So it was a bit surprising to see them on such an average track . The lyrics are also so so and even the music is like that . A still better track as compared to other tracks on the album .

Then come "Bhangra Bistar" and at last there is "Gym Shim" both of which are pretty below ordinary kinda tracks and have nothing to offer . Both lyrics and music is so below average on both these tracks . Bhangra Bistar has some typical Sunidhi , a bit of Alisha Chinoy and also Hard Kaur with some bad lyrics and average music . "Gym Shim" was short of lyrics so they put in some 1234 .... up to 19 like a bad nursery rhyme .

Then come two remix tracks of "Discowale Khisko" and "Hadippa" one of which is already on air .
The remix of Hadippa and the original track are the only two tracks that I've liked on the entire album and apart from them the entire soundtrack can be avoided . I don't know what would Yashraj now use for the publicity of the film which still has about a month to release . They've already shown the two good tracks from the album and this is probably what they will have to repeat for a month or so .

Overall , the album is below average and Pritam has failed on this one . Jaideep also should avoid writing songs like these which are pretty commercial and have no value . He has also done a below average job . When the first song of this film was released I thought that this film would make a good sum of money even only if its songs are as good as this one . But now after listening to the entire album I can say that a lot would depend on the film now since the music is not a blockbuster one .

Album Rating : Two out of Five ; an average commercial film soundtrack .

Monday, August 3, 2009

Love Aaj Kal --- Movie Review

Imtiaz ali is one director who has only experimented with Love Stories and has always added that "Crazy" element in the stories with a flair . Whether it was Socha Na Tha ; where it was Viren (Abhay Deol) who acts crazy n confused or Jab We Met where it was Geet's turn to act a bit crazy in life and enjoy it her way . This element of craziness has been retained in Love Aaj Kal too but I guess this time it has gone on to another level . This time its Jai who is not only crazy n confused but also a bit stupid. If it was Geet in Jab We Met who was playing with her life , here , its both Jai and Meera who play with their life . Lets talk about that later .

What was most talked about the film was this Past-Present combination in the film and how it was "suppose to bridge the gap between the generations" . Though I liked the non-linear narrative because I have a thing for it but what I didn't like is the claim that the trailer made of bridging the gap . It doesn't do any such job . The only thing it tries to show is that Love is eternal and would always remain the same and only the ways of expression have changed which I guess is pretty much known to us . And I guess there's no way to bridge the past and the present so why even claim to do so .

There were also reports that it is inspired from a Taiwanese film "Three Times" which is not exactly true . Though the idea does seem to be the same but the content is completely different and also the narrative style is different . That one is more serious and has more emphasis on "Conversations" between the two lead characters . There the actors remained same in all the eras ; here they are different .That one is a classic and this one is certainly not. In short , there's nothing common apart from the basic idea which is also a bit different .

Coming back to the "crazy" element , I think in this one , it was far more stretched and would not be appreciated by Mango People (Aam Aadmi) . I personally liked it but I guess most won't . Though it looks good to an extent but what went wrong was that some of the most emotional scenes also went flat because of it . The other reason of that being that the movie seems to be in a RUSH of saying what it wants to say . It goes about in a very rapid way and there is no cooling off period where there is time for emotions to develop . Thus the emotional connect between the characters and the audience is minimal which I guess should be maximum for a love story . The whole wedding sequence of Deepika and the one after that seemed so strange and I must say that though I was not but majority of the people in the cinema hall were laughing at such an emotional scene . The interval of the film was also not in the right place and felt almost sudden .

Just talking a bit about story , it has Veer(Saif) who is a modern day guy and believes in Dating and Sleeping around but doesn't believe in Love . He dates Meera(Deepika) who is also a modern girl who dates and prefers to break off on a positive note rather than crying about it . They both date each other and after a series of break-ups , link-ups and marriages they realise that they are very much in love with each other and can't actually ever get over with . Helping Saif to realise this is Rishi Kapoor who narrates his love story to him which is from a different time but still is pretty much the same .

The performances are all of equal levels and match with each other . Deepika has acted as good as saif :) which is a complement for her considering saif is in the business since so many years . Though the film focuses comlpetely on Saif (the Producer) , Deepika still has enough for herself and she does a fair bit of job . Saif is saif ; I don't expect much from him and he doesn't even deliver more than what I expect . Rishi Kapoor is evergreen and he is great in the film . He looks good along with saif . The new girl in the film has nothing much but she was not that bad .

Coming to the technical side , I did like the non-linear narrative which was good for most of the part but at times a bit abrupt . The cinematography and the art direction was top notch and they managed to show the Delhi and Kolkata from old days quite well .Full marks go to Nataraj Subramanian for cinematography and Ravikant Bhakre for art direction. A few small things here and there did seem a bit cliche but overall it was great . The screenplay wasn't that good and it was like that they had so many things to show and had very less time . The only person I was disappointed was the director , Imtiaz Ali . His past films had raised expectations but this one certainly didn't meet those . All his past films had a good story and even Ahista-Ahista which he didn't direct is one of my favourite love stories . All of his stories have had strong characters which connected well with the audience . Here it lacks that emotional connect is what hurt the film most and I guess it was his responsibility to establish it . Some of the sequences in this one were similar to what they were in his past films like for example Saif saying about the break-up party that it sounds weird and crazy so we should do it which was quite similar to Geet's crazy acts in Jab We Met . Some elements like these prove that he has still not got over Jab We Met and also that his heart was still there and not on this story .

The music was obviously not as good as it was in Jab We Met and it was also not properly used by Imtiaz . The only song that I liked was "Chor Bazaari" which also didn't go down that well . I liked the way Imtiaz used "Main Kya Hun" . One more thing that I loved in the film was that both the lead characters were not shown to have those stereotypical careers and both had something different as their career option . Art impacts life so much and especially cinema . We need to get over the doctors,engineers and businessman . I am sure after watching Deepika doing fresco in this film there will be so many girls and even boys who would at least try to know what fresco exactly is .

Overall , the film is not that bad and can be watched once . If you like things the crazy way then there is a possibility that you might like the film , just like I did , but only to a certain extent . Love Aaj Kal disappoints considering the past work of Imtiaz which has been great . The concept is still different from usual and one can certainly look forward to that .

Movie Rating :
Three out of Five ; a good concept but an average film .