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Movie 4 d week : Gaman (1978)

Review by Vinoo
Language : Hindi
Director : Muzaffar Ali

 ‘Gaman’ is about urban migration, about people who are forced by circumstances to leave their home and family in search of that elusive dream, a good life. As always happens it takes Ghulam Hassan (Farooque Shaikh) to Bombay, the land of opportunities. Ghulam Hassan lives a simple life with his wife and mother in a small little village in Lucknow. They just about manage to get by. Ghulam Hassan wants to give his family a comfortable life, not one of luxury. The little land that he and his family lives of gets usurped by the landlord. Ghulam Hassan has no choice but to heed to his friend, Lallulal Tewari’s (Jalal Agha), words and try his luck in Bombay. He leaves behind his wife Khairun (Smita Patil, beautiful as ever) and his mother. He becomes a taxi driver and quickly sees life in Bombay through its streets and through his passengers. The underbelly of Bombay, the lifestyle of people there and the plight of migrants are all well summed up through the eyes of a taxi driver. When a driver dies it is announced that ‘Colaba mein 4143 ka accident ho gaya / No.4143 has passed away in an accident in Colaba’ and life goes on. The total apathy at another’s plight and the fact that life has to just go on, no matter what, is put across so brutally.

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One hundred years of Hindi cinema

by Vinoo

Listening to music will be a much richer experience henceforth, thanks to music historian, Nalin Shah. Aptly titled ‘Yaadon ka safar’, Nalin Shahji brought to life one hundred years of Hindi cinema and the music through the ages. I turn on the radio next time and it is bound to be a much richer experience with one visual after the other and one anecdote after the other to accompany it. A listing of all the songs and the people associated with it, showcased in the course of the day, is all I have to do to make this an interesting read. That is the power of Nalin Shahji’s narration.

It was Alam Ara and the song ‘De de khuda ke naam pe’ that started it all, the beginning of sound in one hundred years of Hindi cinema. While Raja Harishchandra was made way back in 1913, it was not until 1931, and Alam Ara, that sound came to Hindi films. Who better to present the journey than Nalin Shahji who has been witness to it right through? Suchitra Film Society did well in bringing him to present Hindi music through the ages. To choose 125 songs from over 75,000 and to be able to tell us the story of music in Hindi films is an achievement by itself. There were the odd complaints, from the audience, about how Salil Choudhary or a Raj Kapoor and Shankar Jaikishen’s contribution was not mentioned, like I felt Hemanth Kumar and Manna Dey and quite a few others were ignored. But then, in Nalin Shahji’s own admission this was not about individuals. Else, how could he ignore someone like Madan Mohan for instance whose song appears only briefly in a medley. And, like Nalin Shahji mentioned, it is easy to say you did not include this music director, this singer and this song. But then, can you say that one particular song in the video did not have to be there? Well… the silence from the audience sure was acknowledgement.

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Movie 4 d Week: Duvidha (1975)

Review by Vinoo
Language : Hindi
Director : Mani Kaul

Based on a Rajasthani folk tale ‘Duvidha’ (‘Undecision’, says IMDB, ‘dilemma’, I’d say) tells the story of a merchant’s son and his bride. To make matters interesting a ghost falls in love with the new bride to complete the triangle. The merchant’s son has to set out to a far away town to take up a job. That leaves the bride all alone. The ghost seizes the opportunity and accosts the bride in the guise of her husband. The ghost even confesses that he is indeed a ghost in the guise of her husband. Things are normal until news reaches the merchant’s son that his wife is pregnant. He is shocked and comes back home immediately, where his father stops him at the door calling him an impostor. The merchant’s son tries everything he can but to no avail. He recalls one thing that his bride mentions when he was bringing her along for the very first time and hopes that incident, that is bringing her the fruit that she loves, will help win his case but to no avail. Who would she choose, the one who married her or the one who has been with her ever since?
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Un Prophete (Movie Review)


Review by Mohit Kilam

Director: Jacques Audiard
Language: French, Arab, Corsican
Year: 2009 | Duration: 155 Minutes


To come of age, at its very core, is independent of time and its progression. Arguably, you never really come of age, you only grow with it within the parameters of good or bad, love or hate and black or white. The nature of growth, in this context, is contemporaneous with life and often, a result of choices you make during its course.

Un prophete (A Prophet), directed by Jacques Audiard is a brutal prison drama that shows the transformation of a juvenile convict, coming of age and turning into a crime-lord by means of the learning he receives while serving his term at the prison. Malik (Tahar Rahim) is just 19 when he’s put behind bars, for well, having punched a cop. He’s got little to do with crime and other ways that entail the prison life when he comes in and understandably, intends to quietly serve his sentence. He’s assaulted and bullied at every turn by the racist Corsican thugs who run the place. The guards and warden act helpless, paying the least amount of attention to what happens to an “Arab criminal” in a French Prison and he is ultimately blackmailed into killing a new Muslim inmate, Reyeb, who is slated to testify against a Corsican by the mob boss, Cesar (Niels Arestrup), leaving him with the only alternative of his own death. Here, we get a grim insight into his first education in deceit and murder as he is trained to lure the homosexual, Reyeb, into a situation where he can kill him. He kills the fellow Muslim prisoner in one of the most gripping yet disturbing sequences of the film and comes under the protection of Cesar in spite of being an Arab himself, being more and more useful to the Corsicans thence.

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Movie 4 d week!: Senna (2010)

Review by Vinoo
Language : English
Director : Asif Kapadia

Senna. He was the best driver who ever lived.
I would agree with that. The story of Senna and his short but illustrious career on and off the track is very well pieced-together in this brilliant Documentary. Besides some rare footage, it also features Nigel Mansell, Jean-Marie Balestre, Nelson Piquet, Jackie Stewart, Sid Watkins among others. The film delves on the politics of the sport and how in-spite of all odds Senna made it. Ayrton Senna glorified Alain Prost, and many others after, with worthy competition. One thing Senna, unlike Prost, never quite figured was the ‘politics’ of Formula One. The film documents Senna’s early life, his entry into Formula One with Toleman-Hart in 1984 with which he finished a close second to Prost at the Monaco Grand Prix, his superiority on rain-soaked tracks, his teaming up with Prost in 1988, winning the Grand prix in 1988, 1990 and 1991, Jean-Marie Balestre’s control of F1, Senna’s rivalry with Michael Schumacher, Senna’s stints with Tleman, Lotus, McLaren, Willians and ultimately his crash and death at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix and much more. It has many interesting anecdotes like the time when Senna completed an couple of laps in the 6th gear after his gear box gave way during the Brazilian Grand prix in 1991 which he claimed to be the one race winning which gave him the utmost pleasure. A lot more trivia like how he would wave the Brazilian national flag after each race but ironically in the race of 1994, which would be his last, he had an Austrian flag rolled up in his car which he intended to raise in honour of Roland Ratzenberger, who died in a bad accident, after the race.

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Movie 4 d week!: The two Escobars (2010)

Review by Vinoo
Language : English
Director : Jeff Zimbalist, Michael Zimbalist

The two Escobars, Pablo and Andres : one a drug lord, the other a footballer who captained Colombia, both football maniacs. Jeff and Michael Zimbalist come together for the first time to tell the story of the two Escobars. During the era of Coccaine cartels in Colombia it seems ‘narcos and futbol were made for each other’. The film documents the lives of the two Escobars and their rise from extreme poverty to who they were. Football changed Colombia but then it was impossible to not attribute some of the success to drug money that poured in so brilliant footballers could be retained. The drug barons needed a way to convert all the drug money into legal currency, and the football team needed the money. There was not much choice.

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Movie 4 d week!: En folkefiende / An enemy of the people (2004)

Review by Vinoo
Language : Norwegian
Director : Erik Skjoldbjaerg

‘Enemy of the people’ is the story of Tomas Stockmann (Jorgan Langhelle), a nutritionist, who runs a popular TV reality show, ‘Town Community, and this in turn becomes a moral police for companies. The only problem is that it gets our host in trouble. While his program is really popular it has rubbed off his big bosses the wrong way by taking on one of their biggest advertisers who, tainted by the disclosures on the show, pulls out of the channel. Now the channel wants to continue with his program but with an advance clearance on the company he is going to feature. Rather than sell his soul Tomas Stockman decides to walk out on the channel and go back to his hometown to start a plant to bottle the world’s purest mineral water. The new business venture with his brother, Peter, puts his hometown on the world map and things are seemingly good.
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Movie 4 d week : Everyone says I love you (1996)

Review by Vinoo
Language : English
Director : Woody Allen

What a wonderful opening credit. Rabbits. ‘Everyone Says I Love You’ has to be one of the weirdest musicals if one can call it that. I choose to. Well… for one, you have the entire cast singing their own lines. Set in New York, Venice and Paris it follows the story of couples in various stages of their relationships : married-and-divorced, divorced-remarried, divorced-and-friends-with-ex-wife-and-her-new-husband,  just-into-a-new –relationship-this-evening, first-relationship, marrier-but-on-the lookout, multiple-relationships. You name it. Bob (Alan Alda) and Steffi (Goldie Hawn) are married for many years and have three daughters,4 Lane (Gaby Hoffman), Laura (Natalie Portman), Skylar (Drew Barrymore) and a son, Scott (Lukas Haas). Holden (Edward Norton) and Skylar are in love with each other until in comes a friend of Steffi, Charles Ferry (a hilarious Tim Roth) a convict who breaks their relationship. A common friend of Bob and Steffi, Steffi’s ex-husband, Joe (Woody Allen) is lonely again after one more of his affair fails. Here is why:
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Movie 4 d week : Tambien la lluvia / Even the rain (2010)

Review by Vinoo
Language : Spanish, Quechua English
Director : Iciar Bollain

‘The Spainish conquered the New World for Gold. 500 years later, Water is gold. Not much else has changed.’
A crew is filming Columbus’ first voyage to the New World. Christianity is being imposed and the local Indians are being subjugated and stripped of their natural wealth, gold. The Director, Sebastien (Gael Garcia Bernal), wants to focus on the priests, Bartolome de las Casas (Carlos Santos) and Antonio de Montesinos (Raul Arevalo), who protest the treatment of Indians. In real life the Cochabambas (Quechua-speaking natives of Bolivia who belong to the Andes mountain range. Qucha = lake, pampa = open plain.) are fighting their own war for a different natural resource, water. Set five hundred years apart the situation is not much different.

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Movie 4 d week : Revanche / Revenge (2008)

Review by Vinoo
Language : German / Russian
Director : Gotz Spielmann

Alex (Johannes Krisch) is an ex-con who works for Konecny (Hanno Poschl), the owner of a brothel ‘Cinderella’(The name sounds loaded to me) in Vienna. Tamara (a hot Irina Potapenko), an illegal Ukrainian immigrant, is a prostitute who works there and is also, unknown to her boss, Alex’s girlfriend. On one visit to a small town where Alex’s grandfather Hausner (Johannes Thanheiser) lives, he decides to rob the local bank and make a quick getaway with Tamara for a better life elsewhere. Meanwhile Alex also meets Susanne (Ursula Strauss), his next-door neighbour, who is a frequent visitor to Hausner’s. Alex is in no mood to entertain her attempts at friendship.
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