February 24, 2009
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November 30, 2008
Two for the Money
We watched National Treasure: Book of Secrets and Bachna Ae Haseeno yesterday and both were entertaining, at least 🙂
Of course, Book of Secrets was a bit too predictable and had a bunch of large plot holes. Like the one where they are all stuck in an underground cavern and there’s water pouring in. They got to that place by figuring out that the water from a cavern above had to drain out. So they stopped the water in the cavern above, get to the one below and then when the water starts flowing again in the cavern above, discover that the water does not go anywhere in the new cavern unless a door (which is closed) is opened. So where was the water going to earlier? Confused yet? I was!
But it did have some neat historical points which had me scratching my head wondering if the facts were real or made up. It looks as if at least some of the facts were real – there were indeed three copies of the Statue of Liberty and the Resolute Desks actually exist. Of course, there are other minor items which were altered, or created out of whole cloth, to drive the story. Overall, Book of Secrets was entertaining but nothing special.
Bachna Ae Haseeno was, on the other hand, a gem because it’s an atypical Hindi/Bollywood movie. It’s a movie in three parts and the first part does seem to draw some inspiration from Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge while it also makes fun of some of the items from DDLJ. But overall, the concept of the movie seems to have a marked resemblance to Autograph but unlike the usual Bollywood "adaptation", which simply copies other movies scene for scene, all the events in Bachna Ae Haseeno were totally different. So I’m left wondering if this was actually a case of coincidental resonance or if the writers for the movie did start with the core of Autograph but then went their own way.
An interesting factoid about Bachna Ae Haseeno is the title song. Like Unforgettable, where Natalie Cole and Nat King Cole collaborated across the divide of time, Bachna Ae Haseeno (the song) has Kishore Kumar posthumously collaborating with his son Sumeet Kumar. But the interesting thing about this particular song is that there’s another father-son collaboration (or pairing) at work here. The song was originally used on a movie starring Rishi Kapoor, the father of Ranbir Kapoor, the lead actor in Bachna Ae Haseeno 🙂
The story? I won’t spoil it for you. It’s worth watching the movie to enjoy the whole thing completely 😀
December 11, 2006
Entertainment in the hole
I have not been able to find a good movie lately even to save my own life :p Everything seems to be either bad remakes or sequels which never go anywhere. I thought "Mission: Impossible 3" would prove to be good but it was nothing special. The story was average and there certainly weren’t any memorable stunts as in the previous movies. I hear that "Miami Vice" is a bust as well, though I haven’t seen it myself yet.
About the only two English movies that were even passable recently were "Nanny McPhee" and "Wedding Daze". However, the former didn’t really grab your sympathy. It was a nice morality tale which was supposed to warm your hearts but the children (who were the key) came out as brats who needed a good spanking rather than adorable miscreants who needed a firm hand :p Of the children, the only one I really liked was Baby Agatha. On the other hand, "Wedding Daze" was better but a bit predictable and the comparison to "Father of the Bride" didn’t help much. The other interesting fact is that neither of those movies was released in 2006 – I was watching old fare, there :p
It’s been a rather dry season on the Bollywood side of the fence too. I hadn’t seen one movie that really tugged at your heartstrings or made you want to jump up and dance like in the days of yore. The much awaited "Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna" was a damp squib as far as I’m concerned. Sure, it had enough star power for a galaxy or two but the story really went nowhere. The closest thing (ironically) that KANK came to was "Closer", which I didn’t particularly like either :p Incidentally, Shah Rukh appeared to be borrowing from his older roles in this movie and was actually making me feel a bit nauseous – it wasn’t a good performance and it wasn’t a good movie.
The bright spot of the year? It has to be "Lage Raho Munna Bhai" 🙂 I had liked the original, "Munna Bhai M.B.B.S." but not overly so. It was fun but not brilliant. The sequel was different. It was a touching story which kept your emotions going almost throughout the entire movie. I was either laughing or sniffing (not glue :p) through every scene. Sure, at least some of the characters were already established, but the director managed to give them new dimension and new meaning. I was a bit confused by the fact that the sequel appeared to not acknowledge the original – it was almost as if the original story took place in an alternate universe and the new story is a complete retake of Munna Bhai’s life. Other than that, this was a beautiful movie and a pleasure to watch. In fact, I just might watch it again 🙂
June 9, 2006
It’s the knowing that’s hard …
We watched “Home Delivery” yesterday. It is a Bollywood comedy but it really wasn’t that funny :p It took way too long to set up the characters and their back story and then where it could have been funny, it kind of skipped over the possibilities and simply opted for more boring stuff. It did have some great feel-good moments towards the end but most of the audience (except for us masochists of course :p) would have either turned off the movie or walked out long before that.
Sometimes though, even a bad movie can lead to an epiphany 🙂 As I watched the movie, I began to see similarities between how the movie’s plot evolved (or didn’t evolve) and my novel, “Honest, the Martian Ate Your Dog“. The thing is, I’ve not been able to get much feedback on “Honest” or the writing style I use there. When I submit a chapter for critiquing, I get arguments about whether I should have used blaster or credits in there instead of inventing a term. Or I get told that it’s cute but that my humour gets annoying after a while :p Of course, on the other hand, there are others who’ve said that they like the writing.
To be honest, I don’t really let the criticisms or compliments bother me since I know that both are weighted by individual preferences. Sure, if everybody was unanimous in saying that I sucked, then I’d give up writing but so far that hasn’t happened (and that’s not to say it still might not :p). But basically what I’m getting at is that I haven’t used gotten any concrete critiques (except from a couple of people) that I can use to specifically “fix” my novel. But watching “Home Delivery”, I thought maybe my problem was the same as the movies – it sounds good as an overall idea but the execution meanders too much to make a good story :p
I don’t know if that is actually the case or not. Maybe I just haven’t found the right person to submit my work to but any avenue is worth investigating and I feel that my story perhaps has too many characters and too much meandering. So I’m going to use “Home Delivery” as a template of what not to do and then take apart one of my favourite novels to see how things work there. Then I’ll decide how I go on from there – whether “Honest” can stand as it is with a few tweaks or perhaps if I should simply rewrite it to be leaner and meaner 🙂
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 …
April 21, 2006
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Where do they come from?
I guess one question that a writer gets asked often is "where do your ideas come from?". To be honest, I’ve never been asked this question though I’m told that other writers do get asked this question often. Of course, this might be just an indication that not many think that my ideas are that spectacular :p Or it might simply be that they can already see where my ideas came from 🙂 I have no idea.
Anyway, I’ve not been writing much lately. There have been way too many things to do that were not writing related. There’s family stuff going on post-wedding (I think I mentioned that my brother got married, right? :p), I’m having hardware trouble and a friend of mine is in the process of moving servers and I’m helping him out. What with all this going on, I haven’t had time to concentrate on the writing.
I did finish my last short story and it still needs editing but now it’s time to start work on something new – as soon as I get done with the editing on the short story. I know there are many writers who have hundreds (if not thousands) of story ideas crammed in their heads – or in their handy, dandy notebook :p I used to be like that. I would jot down ideas all over the place so that I could write a story about it someday. I stopped doing that years ago because the ideas keep coming and trying to write stories based on all of those ideas would be an impossible task. However, given that I’m obsessive-compulsive, I’d probably try to write a story for each and every idea and that would have been something to see – me trying to keep up with myself :p
Fortunately, you don’t have to worry about that 🙂 Now what I do is simply wait for something to come up when I want to write a new story. Sure, I do have a few ideas in back burner. Most of these however are the for the series of novels that I’m writing. Not short stories. So we were watching a collection of Hindi songs and I saw this one song from "Asoka" which affected me greatly at this particular moment. It wasn’t so much the song as the back story, which I was already aware of, and the location, which was isolated, beautiful and somehow heartbreaking in that particular context. That moment, believe it or not, gave me my next story idea 🙂 The story as it has evolved so far in my mind has nothing to do with Asoka directly, and once it is done, might not even have a link as to its origins. I don’t know how it will develop once I start writing it. But it all began with a song 🙂
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