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Mandatory post Oscar post

Okay, so the last time I watched the Oscars where when Halle Berry created history by winning the best actress and giving an acceptence speech which set standards of brevity world around thanking as she did everyone from Adam and Eve to her dog walker. But one could forgive her because one cant be breathtakingly beautiful and a genius at the same time (Unless it happens to be the author of this post. Yes please stop smirking.)

India swept the Oscars as Slumdog Millionaire swept the categories it was nominated in. Just like Switzerland sweeps the Filmfares everytime a Yashraj productions wins them by buckets. Here is what Danny Boyle has to say about rejoicing Indians, including CNN-IBN ticker feed which showed “Boyle’s next movie to be set in Mumbai”for half a day

Talking to Times of India from Los Angeles an hour after he picked up his Oscar, a slightly out of breath, Boyle said, “I’m truly happy that every Indian I meet is beaming, and it is the ultimate compliment for me that people in India see Slumdog Millionaire as anIndian film. However, in reality it is a British film. It is a very gritty in the beginning and very realistic because our film culture is based on that kind of realism which in Hollywood and Bollywood isn’t quite there.’’

On other euphoria related news the UPA goverment is claiming credit for Slumdog’s success. After all had they stayed true to their garibi hatao pre-poll promises how would Boyle have made this movie?

But one is truly happy for A.R.Ruhkman(!!) for being awarded the highest cinematic glory if nothing but consistantly giving us one beautiful number after another from Roja to Delhi-6. We all love him for choosing love over hate and even more for giving rediff message boards regulars the innumerable opportunity for Tamizh vs Northie and Hindu vs Muslim slugfests. By and by Mrs.Rehman looked absolutely delicious in the Sabyaschi number.

Which brings us to the classy attires all ladies wear to the Oscars.Sample this Jessica Biel number. It takes umatched sophistication to let table napkin hang out of your boobs and yet smile at the cameras. (And zero fashion knowledge to laugh at such fashion-forward creations).I am also yet to figure out why Sophia Loren looked the way she did and why she stood the way she did. Must be something again to do with elegance and class, words lost on the author of this post. Frieda Pinto whose been running from The Tonight show to every conceivable fashion magazine shoot(and away from her so called husband) was looking her usual breath-takingly beautiful self(as every magazine calls her) in her usual kaamwali bai with squint type of way(as Parul put it here).

There were no item numbers with all leading film beauties in the tradition of the Filmfares but there was something which Jackman (drool, despite the am trying too hard humor) did with Beyonce and the High School musical people. I waited for Rehman’s performance till 12 midnight on Star Movies which showed at least 2 hours of red carpet at prime time,and finally gave up and looked at Youtube for answers.

However in keeping with Bollywood star nights, we did see the camera pan to Angelina as Jennifer Aniston made her Rachel Green face at Jack black’s Dreamwork’s dig in true tradition of showing Rekha’s closeup as Amitabh came on stage or in recent times Shahid’s closeup as Kareena performed.

So despite feeling of not completely satiated, used to as one is seeing

1. One item number after every award of significance.

2. SRK winning everything from sound technician award to best male lead year after year.

3. People chewing gum while accepting awards.

4. And now cat fights between hosts and award winners (yes, yes Sajid Khan and Gowrikar wala)

I’ll accept the following did make me a happy bedridden person

1. Seeing Rehman win twice made me delirious with joy and his modesty made me verrry proud in a look-at-bhartiya-tradition way and he actually said the mere paas maan hain dialogue 🙂 Much love.

2. The slum kids dressed in finery living at least for the day with the wealthiest and the most glamorous and risking adoption by the Brangelina couple.

3. Resul Pookutty (Flower child in malayalam..heehee..trivia..) almost elbowing others on the podium to make his acceptance speech and then almost forgetting and then making a very proud Indian speech.

4. Past winners introducing current nominees, Verryy classy.

5. Anil Kapoor of all Bollywood actors. Him of my-name-is-lakhan and ladla standing on an Oscar podium.

But over all not a patch on Nokia Star Screen awards, I tell you!

Update:

All this while, India had been the only country not to have won an Oscar for music. This award legitimises our music and the aspirations of hundreds of other musicians,” he said.

 Why Rehman,why?

 
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Posted by on February 25, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

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Ek mamuli film saare awards kaise jeet sakti hain..

Before I begin, let me tell you I went in to see Slumdog Millionaire with a lot of anticipation, an open mind and no prejudice. If anything I had desperately wanted to like the movie since I had been defending it without seeing to a couple of friends.
But try as I might I couldn’t find anything remarkable in the fantastic piece of wood that was the blank face of Dev Patel or the wide-eyed innocent freshness of Frieda Pinto that I havnt seen in the millions of faces at Andheri station.
I have read the book by Vikas Swarup and found the script was literally “loosely based” on it. That was the beginning of the disappointment. When everyone from Shobha De who called it a slap on the face of our pretense (or something similar) and Rajeev Masand calls it the reason why we go to the movies all I can think of is the double standards we follow.
I have no problem with a foreigner coming to India, making a quick list of all that’s brown and ugly and stringing it with a plot with more loopholes than Swiss cheese because
a. I grew up on AB flicks where a close up of the young child playing AB would transform while running with stolen chappati into a bell bottomed AB who now steals diamond necklaces.
b. I had seen a brilliant movie called Born into brothels, was amazingly touched by it and in an effort to know more found out how the cast and crew for all practical purposes “used” the children to film something appropriately suited for the Oscar palette . So if Danny Boyle with his English sensibilities decides to play up the stereotypes and pick up a couple of awards by the side, one cant really hold it against him.
Do I have a problem with only the underbelly of India being shown in a time when we are desperately trying to sell a Jaguar driving, Gucci wearing, LV totting Indian to the world? No, because I see this other India everyday when I make my way from the Suburbs to the town. I can delicately keep my hanky on my nose when we cross the swamp near Bandra but the stink will still enter my nose. But equally true is the fact that when I do get off at Churchgate, I proceed to work for a subsidiary company which contributes double digit growth to its Europe based parent.
As GreatBong writes in his review

Let’s say I made a movie about the US where an African-American boy born in the hood, has his mother sell him to a pedophile pop icon, after which he gets molested by a priest from his church, following which he gets tied up to the back of a truck and dragged on the road by KKK clansmen. Then he is arrested and sodomized by a policeman with a rod, after which he is attacked by a gang of illegal immigrants, and then uses these life experiences to win “Beauty and Geek”.

Even though each of these incidents have actually happened in the United States of America, I would be accused of spinning a fantastic yarn that has no grounding in reality, that has no connection to the “American experience” and my motivations would be questioned, no matter how cinematically spectacular I made my movie. At the very least, I wouldn’t be on 94% on Tomatometer and a strong Oscar favorite.

Even if we leave all the arguments about appeasing the Westerner we can analyse the movie solely on it merit.
The plot is implausible and full of loopholes. Had a certain RGV made it, the very critics who are lavishing praise and stars in their reviews would have found it repetitive and dark. The continuity would have been questioned. Salim just walks into a mega underworld dons life after killing another? If it had happened in an Abbas Mustan movie, it would have been fodder for a funny blogpost. Jamal comes looking for childhood love? How chweet, but imagine all those Sooraj Barjatiya and Karan Johar movies, how cliché! What would have been certainly termed as average or even regressive had an Indian director been at the helm is now being revered as a mirror to our society.
I have always unconditionally loved Rahman’s music, but even to my partial ears this is not the best of his works. I am happy he has won the Golden Globe and for the Academy nominations only for the simple fact that it may lead to more opportunities for him and perhaps and international audience for his previous works.
And the eyesore the last dance was!What’s Farah Khan doing when you need her?
Yes, SlumDog is an okay movie. You can watch on a lazy Sunday on your laptop. Neither is it the best of Bollywood nor is it a genius movie. If its getting international attention thanks to the lobbying skill of its makers at the Oscars, yoo-hoo but for me the Indian entry of Tarein Zameen Par which did not get a shortlist (Ishaan just had dyslexia-almost a western “disease” not TB combined with leprosy to show the real India!) is a far superior product any day. But then again maybe I don’t have the refined sensibilities to really appreciate a good movie. After all I loved OSO and Ghajini.

 
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Posted by on January 26, 2009 in movies, Uncategorized

 

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