Impressions 'n Expressions

Location: Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India

The permanent temptation of life is to confuse dreams with reality. The permanent defeat of life is when dreams are surrendered to reality.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Woh Lamhe - Watch it

If there is one reason to watch Mohit Suri's 'Woh Lamhe', it has to be Kangana Raut's performance as a schizophrenic actress caught in between wanting to be loved and disease eating away all vestiges of reality.

The movie from the Mahesh Bhatt stables is a poignant love story, which is supposed to be based on Mahesh Bhatt's affair with sultry screen siren on yesteryears, Parveen Babi. Irrespective of how fact and fiction was merged, Woh Lamhe is a neat movie that captures in very emphatic fashion how schizophrenia eats away at the very core of your being destroying everything that you once held dear and leaving you with nothing but memories of a life lived.

Kangana plays the role of Sana, which at first seems to be an extension of her role in Gangster, but soon one realises that something is not right and, it is to the actors credit that she manages to evoke the hallucinatory aspects of her illness without compromising on what she actually is as a person...someone lonely at the height of her fame. Everyone she knows has used her to further their own gains and even Shiney Ahuja who plays Agarwal, an aspiring director, also wants to use her popularity and fame for the very same reasons. But somewhere along the way he develops feelings for her and the rest of the story is devoted to how she is being destroyed by psychosis and how he stays by her side.

There are many poignant and touching moments especially during the second half where Agarwal is forced to kidnap her, in the hope that she can be cured. The way he looks with sad longing at her even when she accuses him of plotting to kill her or when with tears streaming down his eyes he eats a piece of cake to show to her that it is not poisoned drives home his sheer desperation of not being able to hold on longer to a losing battle.

As with most Mahesh Bhatt movies of recent times, there is a lushness to the movie which is exemplified by beautiful cinematography and very good music. The songs also manage to complement the emotions being it hurt, longing or gay abandon. Acting by the two lead players are very good, with Kangana's role the meatier of the two. All other actors are extraneous to the basic plot of the movie and one has the feeling that not too many hours were spent in trying to develop them. This is because the director is intent only on telling the story of these two people, which, though has its shortcomings is not too distracting, as we are caught up with what is happening to Sana and Agarwal.

Woh Lamhe is one of the better movies that I saw this season...

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Lage Raho Munnabhai

Its been ages since I posted anything here, though I have been meaning to do it for quite some time...but have been caught up with the mundane and routine aspects of everyday life that, mustering energy enough to put words together was so much of an effort.

Over the last weekend I saw three good movies and each of them were good in their own rights. None of them were perfect and some had more flaws than one would want to mention...but nevertheless all the three movies made compelling watching to a certain extent.

Lage Raho Munnabhai

A follow up to the very good Munnabhai MBBS, Lage Raho Munnabhai proved to be an even better experience. It is a simplistic take on how we have forgotten the ideals of Mahatma Gandhi... or "Akka india ka bapu" as Circuit puts it. The movie exhorts us to believe in in his ideals and carry his teachings within us, rather than just naming roads or parks in his name, or putting up Mahatma Gandhi's statue in every other street corner. The antics of the chief protagonists will make you laugh out loud while remaining rooted, thus it becomes easy for us to feel a lump in our throats when it is trying to work at your lachrymal glands.

There is a small problem with pacing in the second half and while the storytelling is assured, you sense that there is a dip in the pace while the script tends to become slightly repetative. The movie ends witha small sermon by Mahatma Gandhi that could've been avoided as it seems redundant, especially since most of what he had to say was brought out during the course of the movie itself. Some might question the use of Mahatma Gandhi as a plot device, but I thought it worked perfectly to bring out the awakening of Munnabhai.

I am sure most of us who wants to see the movie have already seen it so I am not going to go into the plot. It deals with how Munnabhaia a local goon alongwith his sidekick, Circuit uses forgiveness and non violence to change the heart of an unscruplous land grabber. The movie is fun without being crass, easy on the eye, has nicely choreographed songs and very good acting by most of the lead actors. Sanjay Dutt, Arshad Warsi and Boman Irani play their characters effectively. On the acting front Vidya Balan dissappoints...somehow one fails to buy into her character and I suspect here it has more to do with the portrayal than the script. While in the earlier Munnabhai, Gracy Singh actually managed to make us believe in her character, here Vidya Balan doesnt get the nuances right and ends up being a little...elite.

Anyways, I thought this was a much better and more rounded movie than the first one, because while Munnabhai MBBS' primary aim was to tickle our funny bone, Lage Raho also was trying to be more meaningful and it succeeds. Mr Hirani, the director of this franchisee has succeeded in delivering a movie that can truly be enjoyed across age groups.