Maleficent (2014) : Disney Film Review

By The Gorgeous Palah Chingu

More like ‘mother’ ficent but here’s the twist, I love it.

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My Rating: 3.5/5

First of all, the real star of the film is Angelina Jolie. Nobody can do better than her for this role. She and Maleficent just fits perfectly with each other. But, Plot holes everywhere. You can see it but (since this is magical-fairy tale story), I’d say it is forgiven. The interesting part in the film is the plot differences compared to the original tale and the story is told in the Maleficent’s perspective. I don’t know why they changed it but I guess it is because of the impact from animation film ‘frozen’. I can sense that majority of you watched frozen and the act of true love is emphasized in the scene of Elsa tried to save Anna. The theme is not romantic love but more towards family or to be precise sisterly love. Surprisingly, it worked. Frozen left a deep impact to those who watched it and that’s why Maleficent story also kind of heading that way.

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Angelina Jolie as ‘Maleficent’

The phrase of ‘true love’ is reflected in the original tale (not really original though if you know what I mean) by Maleficent itself. She did curse Aurora in the first place only to find that deep down; she loved her and does everything in her power to revert back the curse. Since it is not working, she tried to push the prince to kiss Aurora but it still failed to wake her. She regretted her action and sobbingly apologized to Princess Aurora. She kissed Aurora’s cheek to bid goodbye knowing that she will never wake up. She said in her curse that Aurora’s will be awakened by the kiss of true love and she knew that it is not real considering her past experience with Aurora’s father. (SPOILER) Surprisingly, Aurora awoke right after Maleficent kissed her. The love that Maleficent have for Aurora is the act of true love and it broke the curse right away. Forgive my sensitive heart but when Maleficent express her grief to the sleeping Aurora, I cried. It did break my damn heart.

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Maleficent with Young Aurora

Some may say they didn’t like how Disney alters the tale of Maleficent but I love it. Rather than be kissed and saved by the prince who you just met a few days ago, it will be more logical to be kissed and saved by the woman who hated you but did everything she could to save and care for you. The theme of Maleficent by Angelina Jolie is Motherly love. Angelina Jolie’s daughter also did appear in the film. She played the role of young Aurora in the film. That scene is so adorable because the young Aurora discovered Maleficent for the first time and asking maleficent to pick her up. I did read the interview that the whole family of Jolie-Pitt practiced the scene together. You must be wondering why young Aurora is left wandering alone and discovered maleficent in the forest. That’s because the pixies that is in charge of taking care Aurora is pretty much useless and self-absorbed. They don’t even know how to feed her when she was a baby.

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Ella Fanning as ‘Princess Aurora’

Overall, the writing could have been better and the other casts unfortunately could not match the overflowing charisma by Angelina Jolie especially Princess Aurora. Princess Aurora herself failed to make impression and leave a deep impact in the film. To be honest, Diaval (Maleficent’s confidant) and Stefan (Princess Aurora’s father) marked their presence in the film with a good acting and they are indeed is more memorable than the princess herself. The childish argument between Maleficent and Diaval is not something I expected in the film. They did have chemistry as a partner in the crime. It was a good humor and I did laugh at few scenes in the film. Before I forget, the story did reveal why Maleficent turned evil. She’s originally a fairy and happens to be a very kind one.

Young Stefan and Young Maleficent
Young Stefan and Young Maleficent
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Maleficent and her companion, Diavel portrayed by Sam Riley

If you wanted to be entertained and be amazed of the visuals and CGI effects, Maleficent is the perfect film. If you come to watch it for the writing and acting, you have to be prepared yourself of upcoming disappointment.

Shala (2011) : Marathi Film Review

By The Gorgeous Palah Chingu

My Rating: 4.5/5
My Rating: 4.5/5

Shala (2011) is a bit of everything that will instantly make you miss your school. It does not matter whether that is where you met your first love, the first time you were being punished by your teacher, the times you spent with your classmates and friends or what grade did you flunked and cannot proceed to the following grade. This only happened at school. Joshi, the main character is a smart and hardworking boy in the class. He is surrounded by his friends (Surya or also known as Mathe, Chitrya and Favdya) who didn’t really do well in their studies. Prior to that, he’s ended up being a helper in their study and homework. He doesn’t mind it because they all are friends. After all, what are friends for? The friendship that they had is beautiful. When Joshi got bullied, his friends defended him. When Joshi got beaten by her teacher, his friends searched for a school guardian so that he could apply an ointment on Joshi’s wound. Joshi is looked up by his friends and whenever they play quizzes between boys and girls, they knew they can depend on Joshi. He always managed to get a correct answer.

Joshi, Chitrya (chitre), Surya (Mhatre) & Favdya
Joshi, Chitrya (chitre), Surya (Mhatre) & Favdya
Anshuman Joshi as Mukund Joshi
Anshuman Joshi as Mukund Joshi

Joshi is raised in a typical Indian family (but not very typical, I guess). He has a mom who does not working and a sister who just finished school and waiting to get married. The time setting for this film is the pre-emergency (set in the 70’s in the rural India). I don’t know much about India’s history but while watching the film, I saw many conversations led to how the time is not right and people are being extra careful to their surrounding because they don’t know when it will happen. The talk of ‘emergency’ suddenly become a sensitive issue and people avoided to talk about it in the open space. Joshi, being a very perceptive and a good listener, knew about it and felt it is not right. He discussed it with his teacher where his teacher pointed out that Joshi is right but he can’t talk about it any further due to Joshi is still young at that time.

Joshi and His Uncle
Joshi and His Uncle

Joshi has a very close relationship to his uncle. For him, His uncle is the liberation source of him. He learned English from him and even went to watch many English movies together with him. His uncle treated Joshi like friend but in the same time, insisted him to keep focused and motivated in study but never forget to follow his heart. In this film, it showed that Joshi dare to do many things due to his uncle’s advice. I remember one particular scene where Joshi met his classmate at Cineplex and scoffed her at the back for going out with a guy who is a lot older than her. His uncle then said to him ‘You were supposed to applaud her for her boldness. It is because of people like her that our country can move forward and progress. Her bravery to do something that people cannot do is something to be admired’. You’ve got to admit it is true. It makes sense if you heard it in the 70’s. It is the time where mostly parents are conservative.

Ketaki Mategaonkar as Shirodkar
Ketaki Mategaonkar as Shirodkar
Joshi and Shirodkar
Joshi and Shirodkar

In this film, Joshi’s age is 14. It is the age of teens. It is the time where people will say ‘boys will be boys’ and it goes vice versa. Joshi did like one of his classmates named Shirodkar but he can’t bring himself to confess to her. He was shy and so was she. They exchanged glance in the class but that was it. He then took initiative to attend extra tuition where he found out earlier that Shirodkar also attended. He was happy and tried to strategize on how he could talk to her. Later, he confessed to her. They became friends for a brief amount of time. Not long after that, one of Joshi’s friend, Surya wanted to confess to a girl he liked. Joshi does not want to accompany Surya but he was dragged along by him. Sadly, the confession went wrong and the girl rejected Surya right away. When they were in the class that day, they were called by the principal. The girl reported to her parent and her parent brought this matter to school. Surya and Joshi were being canned and were told to bring their father to the meeting on the following day. The fault is not so serious but the girl framed Surya that he held her hand and Joshi was his accomplice. They denied the allegation to the principal but the principal refused to listen.

Joshi told everything to his father
Joshi told everything to his father

When Joshi brought the warning to his father, his father remained calm and quiet. His mother and sister repeatedly scolded him and could not understand why his father didn’t hit him. It was quite a relief seeing his father and his uncle is very similar in educating the children. They communicated and talked first to know what really happened. Joshi told his father everything and swore that he and surya didn’t touch the girl’s hand at all. He told his father that Surya confessed his love to the girl and when he’s being turned down by the girl, they let the girl passed by. His father smiled at Joshi and hugged him assured that nothing will happen to him. We all know that to have a father like Joshi is one in a million ratios especially when you are from typical Asian family. You will be scolded first although you are innocent just like his sister and mother did to him. His father insisted that the girl told the truth and assured the principal that this was puberty case. They were growing up and they tend to do a reckless thing.

They met at the old building to discuss their homework and study together before school.
They met at the old building to discuss their homework and study together before going to school.

This film basically emphasized on the point that you have to cherish every moment in your life. If you don’t, you will regret later for not doing so. When everything is going so well in Joshi’s life, Shirodkar moved away and didn’t even meet Joshi to bid adieu. Joshi managed to get the fifth place in his 9th grade and will proceed to 10th grade. However, 2 of his friends failed the exam and another one is quitting school due to his family problems. At the final scene, Joshi sat on the big rock alone and sobbing that he’s going to face 10th grade without his friends. By the way, Shala in Marathi means School.