Posts Tagged ‘infidelity’

Khiladi misses his mark!

To all those who know me, would know the amount of effort it takes me to part with my money for a Bollywood movie. It is not snobby, it is just that there is a limited amount of song and dance I can take in a movie.

So in this case something went wrong!

We are all (at least by now) aware of the whole Nanavati shooting case and the resultant media hyperbole. So when Rajiv Bhatia aka Akshay Kumar decided to make a movie about something this fascinating, I admit I was caught in the wave. Throw in the fact that Akshay K. has been critically acclaimed for his recent string of movies like Baby, Airlift, Holiday, Special 26, Oh My God etc., curiosity got the better of me and unfortunately it is this curiosity which killed the cat/my brain.

Bollywood can’t do without extras. Be it in dance sequences, where random girls wear short clothes of the same color and dance behind a female lead wearing even shorter clothes (but always of a different color), or action sequences, where big guys try and fight the lead but their punches land a mile from his body or (alas) a “true” story, where despite the story already being written out, writers have to go and muck up the truth to make it more appealing for the masses. (Or this is the excuse I have read/heard each time)

Rustom had all the elements needed for a brilliant movie. A story of love, betrayal, murder, the armed forces, courtroom drama and no “mein tumahre bachche ke maa banne waali hu” crap. Then where did it all go wrong?

……

Rustom Pavri (the infallible Akshay Kumar) is a decorated naval officer who finds out his wife Cynthia Pavri (the glycerin addicted Ileana) is having an affair with his friend Vikram Makhija (the man with limited talent, Arjan Bajwa).  Upset, but still able to think rationally (Naval training you know!) Rustom, heads to Vikram’s house and shoots him with the revolver provided by the Indian Navy. Rustom turns himself in and the movie moves to a courtroom drama and media frenzy ensues mixed with a wee bit of regionalism. Now despite the disclaimer (which is what gave the director the reason to muck up the picture) the movie is still got the basics right and somehow this is what makes it worse.

The movie at the end of its two and a half hours, doesn’t leave you with a feeling of satisfaction but more with a “Why did I watch this? Reading the story on Wikipedia was more interesting”. And if we all believe that books can never be as good as the movie, then how bad a director are you when your movie is worse than a Wikipedia page?

Akshay Kumar is the only saving grace! He is the Will Smith of Bollywood. Movies starring him are made…FOR him. I would assume he takes about 80% of the screen time whilst the rest of the cast act as puny cogs working in the shadow of the behemoth. Ileana, I think has about 3 dialogues in the first 90 min and probably 20 more in the last 60 min. Her time is spent in trying to wear clothes that give her the look of a 1950’s stylish woman and based on her crying, is ready to OD on glycerin. Esha Gupta who acts as Preety Makhija (Vikram’s sister), on the other hand thinks she is dressed for a Tim Burton meets David Lynch movie, but her look is more 5th Element mixed with the Hitchhikers Guide. In her attempt to appear as a 1950’s flamboyant socialite she ends up forgetting to act. (No! Pouting all the time is not acting). I can only think that she wore those clothes as a favor to her friend who is a failing fashion designer because, real people don’t wear those clothes, not in 1950 and judging by what Priyanka Chopra wore, not in 2050 either. Also kudos to Arjan Bajwa, his acting skills are horrible and he was one of the very few people who did not disappoint. He was shot early saving him the frugality of being a part of this movie for longer.

The weakest link in the movie is the writing and it is so bad that I’d start a petition to have Vipul K Rawal’s desktop, laptop, tablet, mobile, pen, papers, and chalks all taken away from him just for OUR safety. I would go a level ahead by recommending highly pressurized acupuncture procedure to kill his nerve endings and hence his ability to hold a pen, but then I guess this review would be moving to a dark place. Thus for now I’d just recommend we break all his keyboards and pens!

Dharmendra Desai who also worked with Akshay Kumar in Special 26 is somehow unable to recreate the magic here and he has no one else to blame but Vipul. When there is an existing story, why would you write something equivalent to Great Grand Masti? When you have a courtroom drama and you could have made something of the quality of ‘A Few Good Men’, why would you write something that is worse than Jazbaa! (Sorry Ash fans, but you know that movie sucked too!). The courtroom scenes were horribly sketched, making Tareek Metha’s pitiful show seem like Seinfeld.

For those calling this a courtroom drama…shame. For those calling this a murder mystery ….shame and for those rating this movie more than 4/10…..shame …shame (rings the bell).

 

Thoughts: Greed is Dead, Long Live Greed.

There isn’t much that can be said about Martin Scorsese that hasn’t already been said and when the team that gave Gangs of New York, Aviator and The Departed team up again, you know you are in for a ride.

The movie is brilliantly acted, superbly written and as one would expect from a picture by Martin Scorsese, it is a master class of the directorial craft. The Wolf of Wall Street (TWOWS) is a roaring thrill ride that is both hilarious and meticulously constructed.

The movie (a true story) is based on the fiercely ambitious Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) who wants nothing more in life than to become the next Gordan Gecko. He begins his stock broking career under the guidance of the ardent salesman Mark Hanna (Matthew McConaughey) who teaches him all he would ever need to learn about the art of selling, the good, the bad and the ugly about peddling ‘dreams’. But soon “Black Monday” hits and Belfort is out on the street. With no mood to give in, Belfort comes across the (highly lucrative and profitable) world of “penny stocks”. The world of penny stocks is unregulated (more or less) and Belfort begins to accrue his army of like-minded individuals which begins the birth of his own empire. People from his neighbor Donnie Azoff (Jonah Hill) to his local drug dealer, Brad (John Bernthal) join his company “Stratton Oakmont” to make hay while the sun shines.

Money rolls in and Belfort and his cronies begin reveling in the depravity only the filthy rich know how. It’s a boy’s company and they act worse than kids in a free candy store all the way making terrible life choices that they still aren’t aware of until this day. Drugs, sex and obnoxious toys are the order of the day and Belfort begins to lose is grip over reality soon enough. But of course, the chickens do eventually come home to roost and FBI Agent Patrick Denham (Kyle Chandler) begins to launch an investigation into the shady practices of the fiscal giant. The rest is history.

TWOWS is a masterful dark comedy sprinkled with little bits of drama. Natural comparisons to Oliver Stone’s Wall Street are to be made and this should be considered a compliment. Though I would go one step ahead and say TWOWS is more of Wall Street meets Goodfellas. The greed, the power, the rampant drug abuse and the “family” in Stratton Oakmont makes it much similar to the mafia, just that these guys commit a different kind of crime.

Scorsese keeps the story a tad larger than life and the character interpretation is amusing to say the least. He puts together a star cast that includes DiCaprio (no surprise there), Jonah Hill, Matthew McConaughey, Jon Bernathal, and Kyle Chandler, all of which seem to be literally having too much fun while having “too much fun.” Terence Winter’s brings his Sopranos skills to the game and how! His script is on its A-Game and it is a work of a demigod.

The acting is par excellence to say the least. The entire movie is led brilliantly from start to finish by the one man. From a “Get Rich or die trying” attitude to his monologues about life, money, and greed, Leonardo (LDC) has now broken into a new level of acting. From the kid who broke on the scene in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? and later became a heart throb (literally overnight) in Titanic, from a hooligan and a roughneck in Gangs of New York to a smooth criminal in Catch Me If You Can, from Howard Hughes to Monsieur Candie, LDC has grown as an actor with each movie and this role is probably one of his best till date, which judging by his illustrious past is no mean feat. This is something that might help him get his long overdue Academy Award. The sequence of DiCaprio crawling on the floor will probably be the scene of the year.

Jonah Hill has shown great depth in his acting repertoire and I or one was frankly impressed by his screen presence in the movie. Margot Robbie (double drool) does a wonderful job of being the sexy trophy wife who usually audiences hate to the wife who is just frustrated by it all. A special mention must go to Matthew McConaughey as well for his brief but marvelous role.

A good book, a great screenplay and a delightful cast were formed and molded into what could help get Scorsese a best director Oscar and a Best Picture Nomination.

The only drawback (if any) would be that we get no clue as to how closely this film adapts the real-life events and at times its almost impossible to believe that things could have gone this far. The overall theme though does seem to be about “greed” in general and I guess that is what Scorsese was targeting. It is that very excess that underscores the key theme and disparagements on the American dream.

Similar to the way Goodfellas glorified the lifestyle of mafia, TWOWS has  attempted to create an enticement to the immoral habits of stockbrokers wallowing in hedonism, that being said, the movie is worth every minute of its 180 and is a must watch for anyone interested in movies with a feel.