May 30, 2006

Masks and men

We watched "The Legend of Zorro" a couple of days ago. Now I was a big fan of "The Mask of Zorro" but the sequel? Well, it left me a little cold :p I think this might have something to do with the fact that the movie seemed to be (at least to me) a mishmash of what is "hot" at the moment. For instance, instead of the swashbuckling sword fighting that Zorro is so well known for, we saw Zorro jumping and swooping and rolling and gliding like a prize gymnast crossed with a show horse and an eagle :p Then the whole thing about Elena and Diego breaking up and all the ensuing hijinks seemed just a teensy weensy bit forced. But that might have just been me :) The best part of the movie for me was Diego and Elena’s son, Joaquin and all the trouble he gets into. Overall, the movie just didn’t stand up to the legend of Zorro that I know of.

On the other hand, we watched "Neal ‘N’ Nikki" yesterday and it totally surpassed my expectations :) I thought it might simply be an "experiment" by Yash Raj films. I had seen the beginning of the movie earlier and had not been very impressed. It had looked like something they’d come up to take Bollywood movies in a "new" direction. Dispense with the usual sugar sweet love stories and instead have something raunchier and much less inherently Indian. They did do all that, sure :p The movie is the most non-Bollywood type movie I’ve seen in a long time.

In Indian cinema, you hardly ever see any kissing let alone pre-marital sex or any kind of talk of sex. (Sure, rape scenes used to be big at one time but even then, that was for the sympathy factor rather than the sex factor and to build up the fact that the hero will eventually avenge the injustice :p) That particular trend has been changing. I can think of a few Indian movies of late which featured pre-marital sex or extra-marital sex. But nothing which just openly and joyously said, "this is all about sex!" I’m sure a lot of Indians (as well as Sri Lankans and others from the sub-continent) are going to be aghast at the movie and call it a perversion of culture. They are right on one level – it is. But at the same time, it is a fun romp. An unashamedly "guy" movie aimed directly at the younger generation.

Is it trashy? Yes it is. But it also has some fun moments and some really good scenes between the characters. The acting? The less said about it the better – if it could have been more wooden, the theaters would have been swarming with termites :p But I did enjoy the songs and half of them were in English and were sung very well …

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