The Legend

[Dedicated to the legend, Robin Williams]

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Manacled in the cage of distress you lulled the song of hope,

Jaded in the shacked of gloom you hid the sense of mope.

Like the soul that needs no rest and the mind that needs no wings

You broke the blood of rage and chopped the flesh that clings.

Even though you were smothered, you glared like the scorching sun

Your figment of reveries induced the force to run

From every trace of pain, from every drop of tear.

From the chains of struggle, you taught to vanquish fear.

Demiurgic in your vigor, you changed the sobs to smile

You taught the lips to twitch, to run for the mile.

Your footprints are embedded in the dusty beach of life,

Where ocean breaks the shore, to fight the war of strife.

You are marked in our hearts; you are carved in our thoughts,

We are drenched in your bliss, entangled in your knots.

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HOLIDAY – The return of Akshay Kumar from a Sabbatical

-Manali Balsara

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Akshay Kumar is known for happy-go-lucky comedies and rare gems like “Oh My God” where he raised the bar for himself. With “Holiday”, he has yet again proved that a good script is what makes or breaks an actor.

Holiday is a superb built script with some great moments. The storyline is quite simple but the way it is executed makes a lot of difference in the final impact. Govinda has the best entrance sequence, while Sonakshi Sinha gets introduced in a typical Bollywood number “Tu hi toh hai karaar mera”, which has the hero drooling for her at different locations.

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The scenes where Akshay’s character outdoes the terrorists are applause worthy…specially one sequence where the whole suited battalion cracks open a serial blast plan, creating a visual treat.

On the branding and marketing front, the film left no stone unturned in lowering costs with integrations with huge brands like Levis, NDTV 24*7, Zee News, R Mall, Royal Enfield and not to forget PVR and Cafe Coffee day. These were brilliantly woven into the script, with the most intelligent integration being of brand Levis with Virat’s(Akshay Kumar’s Character) sister asking him for Levis apparel.

 The music is bearable with a one mentionable number “Aaj Dil Shayarana” which keeps playing in your head even after you leave your seats.

In an age where ‘Radha’s , ‘Munni’s and ‘Baby Doll’s are becoming an exquisite part of a movie, it’s commendable that the Officer on duty chose to stay away from such antics.

A salute to the makers for attempting such a subject, and providing the audience a well needed break from the vanilla 400 crore sets and nonsensical storylines and acting performances. Thanks to Mr. Akshay Kumar for choosing a better script this time.

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Banerjee–The Forgotten Actor

-Shingita Ghosh

Pather Panchali

Shashi Kapoor, Kamal Hassan, Sridevi, Amir Khan, Hrithik Roshan— the intersection of these names lies in the fact that they have all been child actors, like our very own Subir Banerjee. For those who don’t know yet, Banerjee was the actor who played ‘Apu’ in Satyajit Ray’s debut film ‘Pather Panchali’ based on Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay’s novel.

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‘Apur Panchali’ is the story of Subir Banerjee written and directed by Kaushik Ganguly. He has created a collage of— archival footage from Apu Trilogy(‘Pather Panchali’, ‘Aparajito’ and ‘Apur Sansar’), the story of young Subir Banerjee shot in black-and-white and present-day Banerjee’s journey of redemption.

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The Story Begins : Arka(Gaurav Chakraborty) is a student pursuing Film Studies at the Satyajit Ray Film Institute. He comes looking for Subir Banerjee who is to be felicitated as the Best Child Artist by the German Government. Initially quite standoffish, Subir(Ardhendu Banerjee) eventually drops his shield. Arka finds the story of Apu unfold in front of him, retold by none other than Apu himself.

The Flashback : The story told my older Banerjee(Ardhendu) comprises his younger self (played by Parambrata Chatterjee) and his wife Ashima(Parno Mitra). It sheds light on his sacrificed football career, his involvement in the Naxal Movement and his father’s demise as well.

Banerjee Now : Ardhendu depicts the untold misery of a man who wants to be left alone; the vulnerability of a man who reveals his life-story to complete stranger and finally the sense of triumph at his newfound self-worth. Seeing his effortless performance, it doesn’t take you long to understand that the bitterness of Subir is a result of the endless times he has been defeated by life. However, nowhere is he found complaining. There is a sad acceptance in his nature which adds to his cynical bent of mind. The uncanny resemblance between Banerjee’s life and the life of Apu, the only character he ever played as an actor, baffles us no more than it baffles him. His revulsion towards and denial of Apu becomes self-explanatory. Perhaps at some level he blames Apu for the losses in his personal life.

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Banerjee Then :  Parambrata Chaterjee showcases a typical middle-class Bengali who finds contentment in his imperfect existence. He portrays an affectionate husband rendered helpless, a sensible man rendered indifferent.The loss that Banerjee could see coming but could not accept, the grief that he bore but could not feel, the redemption that he needed but did not want—Parambrata does it all.

Technicalities : Editor Bodhaditya Banerjee has done a commendable job of juxtaposing Ray’s and Ganguly’s frames to bring out the similarity between their stories. Cinematographer Shirsha Ray creates scenes that can both stimulate your emotions and also hit you hard on the head. For instance, the Farewell scene— As Subir is returning home leaving Ashima behind, she reminds him of his chores back home before finally breaking down. As the vintage car slowly takes him away, they keep their eyes fixed on each other as long as possible. Simple yet suave.

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Apu and Subir : There are numerous threads that bind Apu and Banerjee. Both lost their fathers at a young age, both were too bound my household responsibilities to choose a career of their choice, both had a meagre job at a noisy printing press, both had wives who belonged to a higher economic class and both enjoyed marital bliss, but only for a short while. At the end, Parambrata’s Subir throws away the last memory of his wife—an amulet that she thought would be a harbinger of good luck. Apu in ‘Pather Panchali’ had similarly hurled the stolen necklace into the pond because he wanted Durga’s secret to die with her.

Special Mention : ‘Apur Paayer Chhaap’ written by Ganguly himself and rendered magical by Arijit’s voice. The song integrates the germ of the movie in a nutshell—

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“Nacchorbanda smriti shaada aar kalo jure

   Apur paayer chhaap dubche baanshir shure…”

“Stubborn memories embedded in black-and-white

  The footprints of Apu get drowned in the lilting of the flute…”

 The End : Ganguly says—“Only when you stop trying, you hit a point of subtlety.” If that is what he wanted to achieve, then he has surely reached his mark.

‘Apur Panchali’ spells beauty, nostalgia, tragedy and romance. Watch it. Experience it. Revel it. Films such as these don’t get made every day but when they do get made, you just can’t ignore them.

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CELEBRATING 75 YEARS OF THE BATMAN: A TRIBUTE

 –Abhranil RoyImage

It is not who you are underneath, but what you do that defines you.”

–Batman Begins…

And so it did. What he has done for 75 years and still continues to do, has defined ‘The Batman’ to us – a hero, a saviour, a deranged sociopath, a lover, a billionaire, a philanthropist, but above all, an icon, a symbol that tells us that even within this corrupt and broken world, there are people who always have and always will stand up for what is right, a symbol, that as Bruce Wayne puts in the movie aforementioned, “is incorruptible and everlasting”.

Batman is a fictional character, a comic book superhero appearing in comic books published by DC Comics. Batman was created by artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger, and first appeared in Detective Comics #27 (May 1939). Originally referred to as “the Bat-Man” and still referred to at times as “the Batman”, the character is additionally known as “The Caped Crusader”, “The Dark Knight”, and “the World’s Greatest Detective”, among other titles. It is actually the secret identity of Bruce Wayne, a wealthy multimillionaire who had witnessed the murder of his parents at a very early age, and had sworn revenge on all criminals; but it was an oath tempered with the greater ideal of justice. Bruce trains himself mentally and physically and dons a bat-themed Kevlar fitted costume to fight crime, and over the years we have seen him face an assortment of villains, including the Joker, the Penguin, the RiddlerTwo-FaceRa’s al GhulScarecrowPoison Ivy, and Catwoman, among many others. However, the real charm of Batman lies in the fact that unlike all the superheroes of his age, he does not possess any superhuman abilities like The Superman, The Flash, and The Spiderman does. Rather, he uses his intellect, detective skills, science and technology, wealth, physical prowess, martial arts skills, an indomitable will, fear, and intimidation in his continuous war against crime. He is ably assisted in his efforts by his crime-fighting partner, Robin, his butler Alfred Pennyworth, the police commissioner Jim Gordon, and occasionally the heroine Batgirl. Despite having been on the public scene for over 7 decades, the interest in Batman has not dropped, rather, has been buoyed by the likes of Frank Miller, whose 1986 series The Dark Knight Returns has been hailed as one of the best comic strips ever written, and lately by Christopher Nolan, whose 3 films on the Batman have lent a new face and edge to the character, with the 2nd film “The Dark Knight” having been rated by IMDB as the 6th greatest movie of all times with Heath Ledger, putting in a deliciously evil act as “The Joker”, which earned him a posthumous Oscar Award for Best Actor that year.In May 2011, Batman was also placed second on IGN’s Top 100 Comic Book Heroes of All Time, after Superman.

But for us fans, there is so much more to The Batman than his history or his charisma. Over the years, we have embraced him as somebody whose sense of righteousness and diligence has saved Gotham City, the fictional city in which he resides, time and time again. The fact that despite all his efforts, the residents of Gotham often misinterpret his sacrifices adds more to his charm. Batman isn’t simply a keep-your-brains-at-home kind of superhero who bashes up any villain with his superhuman strength, flies through and uses laser eyes to cut through metal or jumps around a town using spider webs; no, he forces you to find that lost sense of idealism in you, his stories keep asking you whether it is possible to stick to your conscience in a morally degraded environment. He is portrayed as somebody who keeps fighting his past while dealing with the present, as somebody who is constantly trying to exorcise his demons, as somebody who has had his mind, senses, spirit, hope, body and heart, all broken and tattered, but he just keeps coming back. It is that seemingly lost sense of uprighteousness; that sense of duty that has made The Batman, not only an American cultural icon but also one of the most loved adored and followed superhero of all times. Add to that a mix of dialogues like these, and you know why the famous Empire magazine also listed him second in their 50 Greatest Comic Book Characters of All Time.

    “You will hunt me,
 You will condemn me,
 Set the dogs on me,
 Because that is what needs to happen,
 Because sometimes the truth isn’t good enough      
 Sometimes people deserve more,
 Sometimes, people need to have their faith rewarded.”
 OR
“Because he’s the hero Gotham deserves,
   But not the one it needs right now.
      So we’ll hunt him,  
      Because he can take it,
         Because he’s not the hero,
          He’s a silent guardian,
           A watchful protector,
          The Dark Knight.

 

From a personal point of view, Batman has always be someone I would always look up to in times of moral conflict or hopelessness. Ask any other Batman fan and he will definitely tell you the same thing. I will end this on another quote from Batman, the one in which he says “that you either die as a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself turn into a villain”. 75 years on, however, the caped crusader continues to be our hero, to be eternally placed in our hearts as the hero we both need and deserve. May you live forever, Batman!!

The UNITED STATES of INDIA

Mayuri Ghosh

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Why have the youngsters fallen in love with the ‘Oh-so-Manly’ Arjun Kapoor and the ‘Oh-so-Elegant’ Alia Bhatt?

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The IIM Ahmedabad campus, the Rasgulla and Sambhar quarrel, the ‘Shuddh Tamilian Brahmin Household’s’ bubbly and honest chic gobbling on chicken tandoor, the eco tuitions, the tender yet sensuous love chemistry and the final struggle to change both their statuses from ’In a relationship’ to ‘Married’….says it all and answers as to why should we watch this film.

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THE CAST

Arjun Kapoor as Krish Malhotra, Alia Bhatt as Ananya Swaminathan, Ronit Roy( The Adaalat Man) as Vikram Malhotra (Krish’s contemptuous, grumpy and dominating father), Amrita Singh as Kavita Malhotra (Krish’s  dominated, down-to-Earth, yet a strong Punjabi mother), Revanthy as Radha Swaminathan (Ananya’s conservative and  conventional mother) and Shiv Kumar Subramaniam playing Shiv Swaminathan (Ananya’s traditional and orthodox father). The best part about the cast was that both Arjun and Alia were exactly similar to the Bhagat-ian characters described in the book. The couple made us feel comfortable and took us back to the original manuscript of the film (the book: 2 States by Chetan Bhagat) where Alia and Arjun look exactly as the characters Ananya and Krish have been described there.

A BORING NOTE FOR THE ACTUAL INFO-COLLECTORS

Directed by                           Abhishek Varman

Produced by                         Karan Johar, Sajid Nadiadwala

Written by                             Chetan Bhagat

Based on                              2 States by Chetan Bhagat

Music by                                Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy

Cinematography by             Binod Pradhan

Editing by                             Namrata Rao

Studio                                   Dharma Productions and Nadiadwala                                                 Grandson Entertainment

Distributed by                      UTV Motion Pictures

Released Date                    18 April, 2014

Running Time                      149 minutes

THE PLOT

The film starts off with Krish Malhotra opening his shoes in a psychiatrist’s cabin and narrating the STORY OF HIS LIFE as his reason for wanting to commit suicide… well, it’s the same old wine in a new bottle… Guy-meets- girl scene, love at first sight…as well as at a very sweet rasgulla fight, their first date where the crispiest dialogue of Ananya, after getting the bill, was spoken as… “120 each”, then warning Krish not to propose her directly as he would be the 11th IIT-an to propose the girl, then the eco tuitions in the girls’ hostel, the LOCHA-e-ULFAT (problem of love), the famous kiss dialogue and the kiss, and their love story… the main problem arose because of an old misunderstanding between the North Indians and the South Indians. From their very first meeting in the convocation, the Swaminathans were against the “Typical Punjabis…uncultured people” and their hatred was reciprocated in equal dimensions by the Malhotras as well, saying… “Kis bhasha mein baat karu? Mujhe Madrasi nahi aati”, also in their next and almost-last meeting saying, “Apko toh yakeen hi nahi hua hoga…ki aapki beti ko itna handsome aur qualified ladka mila” or “Maaf karna, par 90% Tamilians gore bhi toh nahi hote!”

This North South divide also generated NAME BASED JOKES where Ananya laughs at the Punjabi name ‘Minty’ and the maternal family of Krish making fun of Ananya by calling her ‘Anyay’..

Yet the couple tried to convince each other’s families for allowing their marriage…and the steps undertaken are really mentionable. Be it Krish’s helping Ananya’s dad to make a PowerPoint presentation, or giving her mother an auspicious occasion to sing her beautiful and trained voice out, or coaching her brother for IIT…Krish was really hardworking all throughout the movie. Talking about Ananya, she could not cook, and that was what her to-be mother-in-law hated her much for. It was Ananya’s quick wit which helped her to win Krish’s mom’s heart partially when she saved Minty’s marriage by undergoing a straight talk with Duke, the ‘Dowry Dulha’. Now what was left is…”Ladke ki family ko ladki ki family se pyaar hona chahiye, aur ladki ki family ko ladke ki family se”…which is so impossible when you have a Punjabi mom! After all… “ Punjabi mother-in-law se khatarnaak kuch nahi hota iss duniya mein.” They finally separate. Now, the most villainous character of the movie, Krish’s detestable, obnoxious, dominating, ruthless, cruel, inhuman father comes into the scene, snaps his fingers, casts a magic and makes the marriage actually happen. He, according to me, was an art-film character-obnoxious, yet, an angel in disguise!

And that is how their final KALYANAM happens…in a beautiful temple in Chennai.

ALIA BHATT

After her Shanaya-tic role in Student Of The Year and her bohemian, unpolished finish in Highway, we get to know how versatile an actor Alia Bhatt can be. From the sophisticated, rich, fashionable and sexy Shanaya, whose attire was never anything except Posh…we get the natural, guileless and childlike Veera in Highway. And then the elegant Ananya, the cultural Ananya, the graceful  Ananya, the Ethnic Ananya, the comely Ananya, the dainty Ananya, the bubbly Ananya, the intelligent Ananya and the appealing Ananya in this movie. She is the new fashion setter…because she has brought back Long Skirts into Indian Fashion again. The way she said her favourite dialogue “Tumhe bas darr hai…ki kahi tumhara action nah bandh ho jaye” was so natural and automatic. She may not be an authentic ‘Madrasi’ in terms of her body language or accent, but she has played the role of a TAM-BRAHM girl pretty well.

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ARJUN KAPOOR

His debut in Ishaqzaade was so manly and amazing, that it was enough for girls to fall for him…and for their boyfriends to get jealous and possessive…( Bitch, please…He is SOOO  HAWT)..His crispy dialogues and the matured way of handling the lead role in Ishaqzaade demanded more…much more from him. From the rustic, arrogant, sexy, bold, courageous, dashing, heroic  Parma in Ishaqzaade and the brave, gallant, valiant, dauntless and daring Bala in Gunday, we find an entirely polite, shy, gentlemanly, “handsome aur qualified”, cute and well-bred ‘gora-chitta-chashmish- Punjabi IIT-ian (as expected from Bhagat-ji)-ladka’ as Krish Malhotra in the film. No doubt he was amazing…again! His using his Punjabi-ness as an excuse for falling in love with Ananya was ‘just-so-natural’…”Punjabi hoon…Khoon garam hota hai humara”. The best part of the character was the way he was getting matured with the progression of the plot…you can very well see Krish evolving from childish and afraid to grown-up and confident. Though the journey is interesting…it is so very boring to see a guy becoming confident so as to slap…yes, slap his dad for domestic violence.. impressive and cool, isn’t it? I mean you really need guts to gift your dad with a tight hard slap!

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THE DIALOGUES

The dialogues of the movie weren’t of much weight…they were crispy and streetwise and so so very rustic. Be it the cheesy, flirty dialogue as “Yeh tumhare right gaal ke left side pe jo til hai nah, uspe dil aa gaya hai mera…mujhe roz follow karta rehta hai…and then I just want to kiss you...” or the ‘uff-finally relised what is love’ dialogue “duniya mein shadi karne ke liye sabse zaroori kya hota hai? Pyaar…” (as if we don’t know {robustic poker face})…all of them were extremely light and well-spoken. It was kind of a deviation from the ‘Mere paas maa hai’ type of dialogues. You can feel the feminine insecurity when Ananya says “Tum ladko ka na…yehi ek problem hai…Bed pe kudne ke liye bilkul time nahi lagta…bas thora sa commitment mang lo…toh sochne ke liye waqt chahiye!”The best dialogue, according to me, was… “Tragedy is the new cool…” It was just…phenomenally awe-inspiring.

THE PROPOSAL…OR…UMMM…PROPOSALS

Have we ever thought of being proposed in the middle of an interview? No…I mean…Of course NOT!

But, Krish proved us wrong by placing his ‘Oh so innovative’ style of proposing Ananya for marriage in the middle of a well on-going interview. But this is nothing compared to what happens in the later part of the movie…where the theory of “ Ladki ki family ko ladke se pyaar hona chahiye…aur ladke ka family ko ladki se” comes into action. Krish, at last, ends up buying four rings and proposing the entire Swaminathan Family…isn’t it yet another extra-ordinary way of winning somebody’s love and credence?

MUSIC

Actually and critically speaking, there aren’t any heart touching…or better say…heart ripping songs in the movie… “Offo” is a total party song which will definitely generate a shake in your bumps each time you play it…and I’m sure you do that hand wala step each time “Locha-e-Ulfat” is played. Well, the movie also has soft, romantic and rhythmic tracks like “Mast Magan” and “Chaandaniya”. Ummm…no offence…but…I don’t think you’ll try listening to “Hullaa Re” or “Iski Uski” more than once. The clear winners, thus, are “Offo”, “Locha-e-Ulfat” and “Mast Magan”.

GET MODERN AND… APP FRIENDLY!

Guess what…the movie has set up a brand new trend of exhibiting how much you love your partner in an extraordinarily cool, undecipherable and tricky way…especially when your mom is keeping an ear on what you are talking over the phone and an eye on in what shape your lips are dubbing the words… so… presenting the way you say ‘those-three-ultimate-words’…

 “I…LOVE…YOUsing this app

Isn’t it cool…and…to some extent… APPy??… Well, apply it… I say it works…because there are yet so many people who haven’t yet watched 2 States…

IT’S REAL, RELATABLE…AND STILL FOLLOWS THE OLD LOVE THEORIES

The movie is really believable…it did not center around the absurd. From the IIM love story developed between two different cultures, to their struggle to realize the relationship through conjugal bond, to the process of making the ‘ladki ki family’ love the ‘ladka’ and the ‘ladke ki family’ love the ’ladki’ in various pre planned ways, to all the dates, the kisses and even thinking that you are all lost and you want to commit a suicide when you have to leave the love of your life because of your mother’s conservative nature and Punjabi-ness…it was all-so-relatable!

One more thing that was actually appreciated in the movie was…OLD LOVE…REAL LOVE. Though you know you might be separated from your beloved because of misunderstandings, intolerance and the North-South ridge between the families…you still don’t give up hope. You try and try from AHMEDABAD to CHENNAI to DELHI to MUMBAI until you finally break down the North South wall with your hands entangled with your beloved’s.

After all… “Baat communities ki nahi hai…baat yeh hai ki hum kis tarah ke insaan ke saath apni zindagi beetana chahte hai.

RATINGS

If I am to rate the movie, I’m going to give it 3.5 out of 5…because there was no innovation-the movie was not revolutionary. If something needs to be appreciated, it is Arjun Kapoor and Alia Bhatt’s natural acting…Arjun’s smartness and Alia’s beauty. The kurtis she had all throughout the movie were actually worth appreciation…and she looked amazing in her Kaanjeevaram Silk saree with the gajra and the jhumkas. The songs of the movie would definitely make to jig if you are seated…and…ummm… 3.5 for the idea of ‘I LOVE YOUsing this new app’.

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