Sunday, January 25, 2009

The "Slumdog Millionaire" Scandal

How to turn a cheap sentimental melodrama into an International Blockbuster:

The Recipe:
1. The basic ingredient is a cheap sentimental melodrama.
2. Throw in some dollops of Mumbai-slums and cliched stories of Indian beggars.
3. Everybody now likes the taste of communal violence. So add communal violence.
4. Shoot the film in India but no Hindi please. The taste has to be universal to do good business. So punch in English dialogues as much as possible. Hire a British director. Forgot to tell you that the recipe is from Britain but uses Indian ingredients.
5. For the icing on the cake, add A.R. Rahman to the concoction. Stir well. You will hear a cacaphony at the end. The dish is now complete and will need garnishing now.
6. For garnishing add oil so that it does smooth rounds at the International Film Festivals. There will always be film-critics who will write rave reviews if you gift them a pen worth ten rupees and there will always be critics who have long lost their sanity from an overdose of films.
7. Finally place some morons at vantage points with placards "I luv my india".

The dish is complete and ready to serve. Serve it hot.

Needless to say that this is the most over-hyped and overrated movie coming out of the Bollywood or Britain. It intrigues me why the entire newsprint and electronic media would push this particular film so hard, convincing people that this shit actually smells of roses. Is it just for business or is there a more intricate part in their gameplan which we are unaware of? Whatever it be I have never imagined that critics and the so called intellectuals of the world can so well be bought. From Film Festivals to Oscar Nominations the buzz about the film is everywhere. Finally a realization is dawning - I can smell Ayn Rand's "Fountainhead".

Thursday, November 20, 2008

14th Kolkata Film Festival

Kolkata, 23rd November 2009

7 feature films, 3 documentaries and 1 short film. That was our tally at the end of the 14th kolkata film festival.

The films and documentaries which I saw with my wife in several different theatres over the festival week:

1. Emma's Bra - 2007 - Directed by Maryse Sistach (Mexico)
2. The Banishment - 2007 - Directed by Andrei Zvyagintsev (Russia)
3. All Screwed Up/Tutto a Posto e Niente In Ordine - 1974 - Directed by Lina Wertmuller (Italy)
4. Wake Up Arezoo/Bidar Show, Arezoo - 2005 - Directed by Kianoush Ayari (Iran)
5. Sweet Hours/Dulces Horas - 1981 - Directed by Carlos Saura (Spain)
6. Landscape In The Mist/Topio Stin Omichli/Τοπίο στην ομίχλη - 1988 - Directed by Theodoros Angelopoulos (Greece)
7. The Song Of Sparrows/Avaze Gonjeshk-ha - 2008 - Directed by Majid Majidi (Iran)

1. The Soldier's Tale - 2007 - Directed by Penny Allen (France)
2. The Funa of Victor Jara - 2008 - Directed by Nèlida Ruiz & Cristian Villablanca (Spain, Chile)
3. Ladakh - Land of Mystery - 2003 - Directed by Biyot Projna Tripathy (India)

Short Film:
1. Oleg And Olga - 2008 - Directed by Sergei Voevodin (Russia)

It was a weekend very well spent. So many films from around the globe!! I must agree that there was ample food for thought to make you happy. We faced some difficulties acquiring passes for few shows but overall I must say that the film festival was well managed and real movie lovers were certainly not let down.

The movie which moved me the most was the Iranian "Avaze Gonjeshk-ha/The Song of Sparrows". I was absolutely spellbound to say the least. It is sheer poetry. A masterpiece. I would love to watch the film a thousand times and again. I think I am already in love with Majid Majidi's films. It is sad indeed that the film perhaps will never make it to India in DVD.

Kolkata Film Festival official website:

Nice to have a website, but the site is disappointing. The schedule was uploaded after the festival started and weighs a mammoth 37MB. Takes a day to load. :-)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Ikiru (To Live)

"Ikiru" is a wonderful film by the Japanese master Akira Kurosawa. This is the fourth Kurosawa film I have seen and I have already become a great fan of this director. The film deals with complex emotions but the message is short and simple - "Live Your Life".


Last month I watched the movie "Tahaan". The movie had a short lifespan of around 2-3 weeks in the theatres. However I must say it is one of the best Hindi films I have ever seen. There is no point posting a review now, but if you love films you should watch it. The movie will certainly find its way to my movie library. I am eagerly waiting for the DVD release.