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Thursday, 18 September 2014

The Curious Case of Hindi Film Awards

The Curious Case of Hindi Bollywood Film Awards

A Prelude to The HIndie Awards

The road to or the Awards season itself is upon us. The Oscars are coming up next year and it's a race between the fall releases this time round to see who makes the cut to win big gold at every major function.

Now as we all know, the Oscars aren't perfect. Some would argue that they don't choose the best of the best of the year, but rather the best of the ones they like under their strict and snobbish judgment. The Academy Awards are by no means based on merit.

But for many an Indians they are held in high regard, even though our films rarely make it to the foreign category (the last time it was Lagaan in 2002). Now let's face it, degrade us for our love or reverence for the Oscars all you want, but when you see the kind of hackneyed award functions we have you would understand. 

And this is why Hindi Cinema isn't taken an serious award function, you have two of the current biggest stars cross dressing for some bad humor

For Hindi cinema, the awards season means just having these award functions hosted by not a body of film academics but rather media houses and big companies looking to churn profits of their TRP's. The only film award worth looking at are the National Awards and that too only on occasion.

Mainstream awards might avoid the American counterpart of annoying campaigning but they're close to the notion of politicking and that too on a whole other level. There's no denying that awards are bought.

Heck every new year, not only are they bought but made. Weird things such as Best Marketed film to Best Superstar who can't act to save his life are awarded to some of the worst hacks in Indian cinema. It's basically a shameless way to pat each other on the back.

Despite a few mistakes and misjudgments, 2012 and 2011 actually had the best Indian awards seasons giving it mostly to the right people and choices. Then last year (well we remember what happened last year) these awards go back to pandering to the superstars and the big buck people nominating the likes of Dhoom 3, Krrish 3 and Chennai Express over the BA Pass, Shahid's and Looteras of this world.

From 2011 to 2012 Ranbir Kapoor (Rockstar and Barfi) and Vidya Balan (Dirty Picture and Kahaani) deserving won the awards amidst the people they were nominated against

I don't need to rant long you see, it's a known fact and around the internet that these Awards just don't matter. So I'm personally going to do the same thing I did with Underdog Awards and make a Hindi version of it; called the Hindie Awards.

Now while it will officially start from next year, I'd like to give due to the films from bygone years or just the prior decade with a what if styled revisit of these awards. So be prepared for my post on the HIndie Awards for the year 2012 (2013 was already done here). Do remember that for 2012 and 2011 my nominees and maybe even winners will be close to the awards I'm hating on (hypocrisy but because those two years, the awards people somehow just got it right).    

PS: Watch out for a lengthier examination on Hindi Film Awards and how that can be solved

'Nuff Said

Aneesh Raikundalia

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Tintin's Top Ten The Big Oscar Prediction

Predicting The Lineup

For The Ten Pictures for The Academy Award For Best Picture

After Guardians of The Galaxy (I still have to review this) stormed the Summer season, it's time to mellow down for the long haul run towards the Academy Awards as the Festival/Awards circuit season kicks off.

TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) just ended and in its wake has left a lot of Buzz for Oscar potentials and hopefuls. 

Surprisingly, one of the best things of the year is how the major awards race seems so confounding and confusing. Not only in the lesser categories but the big one itself; Best Movie.

It's a year that might not necessarily feature the big nominees/a-lister's from the past half decade. In fact the buzz seems to be pin pointed on some typical Oscar films headlines by not so typical actors and directors (Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game) against big time comebacks in weird movies (Alejandro Innaritu and Michael Keaton in Birdman).

With the Oscars still a long way down, this could be because TIFF itself has failed to feature the major heavy hitters like in the past. Last year is a prime example where TIFF premiered eventual Best Picture winner 12 Years A Slave. Before that Argo.

TIFF in its entirety has been a strong premonition of the best picture race, although this year that might not hold true, saying that.

For this post, off the films I've touted for the ten nomination slots. Each of these films have either had a wide release, a limited release, a festival release or at the least a trailer to indicate what the film promises to be. As such serious touted contenders like Inherent Vice and Into The Woods are not on here.  

This means that films from TIFF are for now my major considerations for the Big One; the Big Award for Best Film. 

Also I'll include what other nominations for major awards such as acting we could see from these ten films and more (including actors in other films from TIFF

Enjoy my short analysis on their chances below...

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

The Foot Behind The Kick: Why Salman Khan's Kick's Message Made Me Hate A Film I Was Desperate To Love


Not A Normal Review

At the end of the year, I expected to create a new list of Bollywood for my favorites movies of the year. When Kick's trailer came out, I knew the film would feature on this list for two reasons; cause it looked like a fun masala movie and cause it featured Nawazuddin Siddiqui.

Before watching the movie I envisioned my review for this film and I saw the inevitable that any critic sees with the film, whether he be refined or amateur like me. I saw a Salman Khan film, I saw a bad film.

Let me correct myself, I saw a conventionally bad film. 

Masala Movies such as the above are bad in normal aspects but surprisingly thoroughly entertaining, maybe my reviews system or critics minds need to be checked

Writing, Directing, Performances, Score/Soundtrack. That's how my review is structured.

What it means is that I see?

The Script, Screenplay, Plot; basically characters, dialogues, character arcs, narrative structure, logic, depth, message and more

Direction, Editing, Cinematography: What it looks like, How it plays out and Who steers the film in the right direction

The Actors and their acting

Then finally the background music and the foreground music and in Hindi films, how it works into the pacing of the film. 

Yet, the one thing true film buffs are taught to look for in a film is what is the film advertising? As a film that has a genre, who is it targeting? And what is it promising to deliver?

That's why a film has a trailer.

To tell you what to expect, to peddle it's product.

So what I expected was to tell you about the difference of Conventional Criticism against Escapist Entertainment.

To tell you that Kick is a bad film in terms of script and direction and what not, but it's entertaining as hell especially its second half.

Then the script turned everything around. The four writers who become a hodgepodge of too many cooks spoiling the broth, also end up playing to their stars strength like no other Salman Khan film has.

Like with this year's Jai Ho, the film tells it shows you to excruciatingly levels about Salman Khan's golden heart. Sure not on such tacky levels but Kick does more than that though. 

Whether it's Devil, Devil or Chulbul...It's always Salman Khan

Don’t be mistaken, this film isn't about Devil or Devi Lal or any name by which the script calls its character. This man standing in front of you (in the poster above) is Salman Khan through and through.

As the news reports have been saying, this is a film about Salman Khan more than any other. It's his promotional campaign. It's his auto-biography.

As the dialogue points out:

'Yeh aadmi logo ko maarta hai, par dil ka bahot aacha hai...yeh aadmi jail ja chukha hai, par dil ka bahot aacha hai' ('This man beats other people, but has a golden heart...this man has been to jail, but he has a golden heart')

It's too present the character and in this case Salman Khan's flaws but to tell you that his heart is in the right place. Through it's near 3 hour run time, that's all this movie is really doing.

Amidst the mind blowing action, Salman Khan at his motivated best, cracking dialogues and a sublime ham performance from Nawazuddin Siddiqui. The movie hides its message but lets you know it. 

While Advertising his charity, is Salman actually just showing he's so charitable? Could he in reality be more like Shiv Gajra (Nawazuddin's villainous corrupt charitable character) than Devil

Salman Khan will go through anything and do anything for his kids. He will do the wrong things, to Be Human.

You'd ask, isn't that a good thing? Sure in reality and for criticism's sake the film is bad. But Salman promoting his charity Being Human, isn't that a good thing?

Yes it is. But the way the film is positioned, it primes Khan as a messiah. It doesn't speak as much of his charity, as it does of his charitable character.

Sure Khan has his heart in the right place with his charity, but the film knows what it tells you and what Salman Khan lets it tell you (don't be misguided, a superstar of Khan's proportions has a lot of influence on a film and its story).

To finally get to the point.

It's to promote a man for his good deeds who has gone beyond everything to escape a crime he has committed. 

Innocent or Guilty, maybe even the court can't or wont tell

Guilty until proven Innocent is the mantra, a celebrity will be looked with the magnified eyes of suspicion for doing something wrong in this world. All that does make a point.

But so do witnesses. So does evidence. And So does the fact of their disappearance and the length of this simple case.

To those not in the know. There is an ongoing case against Salman Khan, a hit and run case where he has been charged with the murder of pedestrians sleeping on the pavement as he was driving drunk.

It's what makes the movie suspect, what makes every one of his moves and movies a big question.

Is Salman Khan a good guy? Everyone is.

Is Salman Khan doing the charity for his benefit or for charity? Only he can say, but his heart may be in the right place more than the wrong.

As the dialogue iterates don't think about him. There's one thing you can believe about the movie and the friends who speak highly of Salman Khan is that he is truly a mystery. A mystery that is crystal clear.

The known enigma.

And that's why I hate the film.

The promotion of Khan is deplorable. The message sent might be a nice gesture, but comes at a wrong time and for suspect reasons.

Why tell the world you're good, when you're good?

A film is a film and that's all it should be. A simple message in a film is fine, an agenda hard to like.

But a film is a film and at times it should be seen as such, Escapist Entertainment more than Conventional Criticism.

Bryan Singer the director of X-Men and Usual Suspects, is one of the first openly gay men in Hollywood. Known for his notorious parties, he has been accused of child molestation in the recent past

As I said once with my review of X-Men: DOFP, I never mix the professional and personal opinions of a person.

To me if he did what he has been accused of, the character Bryan Singer and director Bryan Singer are different people and my opinion of them will be different. As a human being, yes I might watch his movie with disdain but I wont criticize them for anything else other than what they are.

Same goes with Salman Khan.

What he has done personally and if he is in the wrong. I already hate him, so it wont change a thing.

But in terms of a movie it gets confusing when his personal is promoted in his professional in a biased manner. 

If There's One Reason You Need to Catch Kick then it's Nawazuddin Siddiqui, whose hammy performance gives the Kick the audience needs in a tepid but mildly entertaining film

Yet if I look at it crystal clear, I liked Kick especially it's second half. It was a much more fun masala movie than normal. If I look at it subjectively, I love Kick cause even though in a wasted role; Nawazuddin Siddiqui was a livewire of scenery chewing brilliance. He stole the show, he stole Khan's thunder and he stole the Devil's Kick.

Kick, I loved it for its entertainment. Kick, I hated it for its message.

Kick will possibly feature on that end list. Yet Kick's message will never let me watch it again without disdain.

'Nuff Said

Aneesh Raikundalia

Sunday, 27 July 2014

I Want To Be On That Stage Someday: Dreams of Comic Con

Dreams To Be At San Diego Comic Con

As a former wrestling fan and even now, there's one epic event you cannot miss and that's Wrestlemania. It's the night of all nights in the Wrestling world. 

My favorite part about Wrestlemania was always the beginning, where the superstars would sit down and speak with their heart about how this was there night, how this is the moment they waited for and how Wrestlemania was the event they aspired to compete in. 

'I want to be on that stage someday'

I vaguely remember that quote from one of the superstars and it got me thinking. Where do I want to be?

I know I want to create comics, I know I want to write established characters as well as my own, I know I want an Eisner.

Heck now I also know that I want to write films, that maybe I want to direct them too. 

Then so it happens, Comic-Con passes by this weekend. 

And I think to myself...

'I want to be on that stage someday' 

And not just any Comic Con but San Diego Comic Con, The Comic Con. 

Like the Wrestler who walks into Wrestlemania with all the pomp and circumstance, does his moves and wins the match to much fanfare. 

I want to walk into Comic-Con, hopefully with a cheering crowd. 

I want to be able to tell fans from across the world about my work.

To reassure them that Avengers is in good hands and I will give them the best for their buck and a beast of Kang the Conqueror. 

To persuade them that Spider-Man: War of Kings will be the best what if comic Marvel publishes. 

To welcome them to my world of superheroes; the Hero-Verse. 

Maybe I could even jump the pond.

Show them that this geek movie is well scripted, directed and is an entertaining fare. 

Give them a sizzle with the reel of my Green Lantern Animated Series. 

Or Maybe appear in shocking fashion as Marvel Studios announces me as the new writer/director for their latest movie. Possibly Avengers 20, please be Avengers 20!

I know these could just be pipe dreams, that most of these can be crushed. You'll tell me not too fly so high. 

But I believe if you dream it then you do it. 

'Nuff Said

Aneesh Raikundalia

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Tintin's Top Ten: Kicking Modern Masala Movie Dialogues

Tintin's Top Ten

Best Modern Masala Movie Dialogues

In India whenever a Salman Khan movie releases, it isn't a movie but rather an event of epic proportions.

Whether the film is good or bad (mostly bad) you will see hundreds of fan flocking to the theaters to watch a bhai film. Especially in the past few years, as Salman Khan has turned the oft ridiculed high brow masala film genre into a guaranteed money spinner.

For me it's always going to be subtle and meaningful over loud and epic. Of my top ten favorite films, my first two (the avengers and andaz apna apna respectively) might both scream against that but my next eight do (a combination that includes the before trilogy, udaan, oldboy, khosla ka ghosla etc.) affirm my choice.

Yet this years Salman Khan starer has me fascinated.

It looks like the film where Khan channels his persona and charisma right on screen unlike Jai Ho.

It looks like the film where the Hollywood like stunts and effects looks Hollywood like, unlike Dhoom 3 and Krrish 3.

'Yawn!, Chaal subtlety se bore hogaya! Aab toda loud karte hai!'

And most importantly, because it's a masala movie that features revered actors of high calibre such as Randeep Hooda and Nawazzudin Siddiqui.

Hooda who is coasting of the success of Highway that caught him the heavy does of critical acclaim he deserves, looks to be the surprise element.

Where as an actor of Siddiqui's capabilities is definitely in a role that will allow him to chew scenery like no other.

Kick could easily be the peak of what has been a mostly terrible ride of mediocrity for the modern resurgence of 70-80's masala action potboilers.

The only great thing about such films if anything have been their dialogues.

Whether the film is bad or good, you can be rest assured that the dialogues will be power packed.
So here's to some awesome dialogues from modern masala movies. Hey alliteration, that's more depth than there is in a masala movie these days (sorry couldn't resist).

First lets get the rules clear. The top ten are from masala movies of the modern era. This doesn't necessarily mean movies from Wanted onwards when masala became mainstream again, but rather from 2000 onwards.

Also no dialogues before that or Sholay would practically dominate the whole list

And finally to really focus on masala movies I purely mean movies of a mixed genre with the main focus being an action movie with hints of romance, comedy and of course music.

As such the dialogues in question are hard hitting action ones that are more than likely badass

PS: they wont sound that good in English. So I'm not going to bother translating them.
So here goes...

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Making of A Star: Shclub Andy Dwyer becomes the Protector of the Galaxy!

Guardians of the Galaxy

It's Chris Pratt's Moment to Shine


It's Guardians fever and I'm celebrating it like the Marvel fanboy I am! Although I might not get to watch the movie! (YIKES!)

There's one thing above all else that Guardians is. Above the risks to a studio that has 100% bank-ability. Above all the new age Star Wars comparisons. Above the endless but epic marketing. Above Rocket and Groot. 

Above all this is that Guardians is a platform for star in the making; 

Chris 'Andy Dwyer' Pratt. 

The once shclub from Parks and Rec has become a movie star and Guardians beyond the fact that it's a team movie, is a Star Lord extravaganza and a showcase of the comedian actors talents. 

In fact nothing says this more than how excited Pratt seems about the Guardians premiere. The actor knows that it's his time to shine and nobody is going to stop his trailblazing antics. It's not the first time a movie or a movie franchise has made a star, it's not even the first time Marvel has made a relative unknown into a star (AKA Chris Hemsworth as Thor).

But even then I had to make this post, just because of how excited Pratt seems at the premiere (video above) and how fun it will to see his career skyrocket.

One day we will reminisce when A-List superstar Chris Pratt became what he is, because of Guardians and before that the Lego Movie and of course Parks and Rec. 

So give it up for Chris Pratt AKA Star-Lord. Who you ask?

Well for that don't forget to catch Guardians of the Galaxy in a theater near you (an pray that I do too)

'Nuff Said

Aneesh Raikundalia

Friday, 18 July 2014

Performances of A Lifetime: Shahid Kapur as Haider in Haider

Performances of A Lifetime

Last week's release of the trailer for the much anticipated Haider (an Indian adaptation of Hamlet) got me thinking of a new top ten feature. The idea was to list ten current Bollywood actors who had already given their performances of a life time and would never in million years beat them, no matter how great as actors they are.

As soon as the post got underway, more and more names popped up in my head and confused me to the point where I was in a straight jacket bashing my head on a wall (reason why I've been so inactive on the blog sphere).

So let's get back too Haider and more importantly Shahid Kapur. 

The reason I wanted to make the post is Shahid Kapur, his performance just in the trailer (as seen above) speaks of the depth and level to which the actor has sunk into character. 

The son of well known thespian Pankaj Kapur. Shahid naturally has acting in his genes, although some of his performances may make you think otherwise. He's of course no where near the level his old man is but from time to time Shahid has shown that there is oodles of talent beneath his so called chocolate boy looks. 

Director Vishal Bhardwaj extracted Shahid's finest performance from him to date with the twin magic of Kaminey. Now Bhardwaj returns with Shahid in tow for Haider. 

For Shahid, Haider could be his masterpiece. Just two minutes of footage and you can tell that the Kapur boy has captured a sense of character that could give him the performance he will be known by for years to come. 

So enjoy the trailer and don't forget to catch this epic performance of a lifetime.

To be or not to be,

Aneesh Raikundalia