2 STATES – 2014 HINDI FILM REVIEW

by Ruby Gege

2-States-2014DIRECTED BY: ABHISHEK VARMAN| WRITTEN BY: CHETAN BHAGAT| WRITTEN BY: ABHISHEK VARMAN & HUSSAIN DALAL| STARRING: ARJUN KAPOOR AND ALIA BHATT

RATING: 9/10 (because this is truly an excellent film!)

One question – is love really enough when it comes to marriage and spending the rest of your life with the man or woman of your choice? Is it wise to disregard other people’s opinions? It is safe to live by the rule that love conquers all?

Or are you the type to actually consider every factors before making the decision? What kind of a married do you want? The one where you are able to include your parents and your in-laws or not?

2 States is a film that deals with this dilemma of such decisions. We are introduced to our main characters, our hero, Krish and heroine, Ananya, at the beginning of the film as two young bright students in a prestigious postgraduate academy in Gujarat. Both of them hailed from completely different parts of India – Krish is a soft-spoken polite Punjabi Delhi boy whereas Ananya is a gorgeous steady Tamilian girl from Chennai. They became friends and eventually, lovers. The chemistry between Arjun Kapoor and Alia Bhatt worked so well here – they matched each other so perfectly. Krish was a young man without a meaningful aim in life, then came Ananya, who often encouraged him to pursue his true passion, writing. 

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As the love grows, so does the desire to take the relationship to the next level – marriage – and this is when the movie really starts. 2 States is different due to the fact that it portrays rational-minded young lovers who do not make hasty decisions out of love. Instead, they take their steps slowly and try to make things work and at the same time pleases the people around them. What is so great about Krish and Ananya is that they both are filial dutiful children. How can they not be – their parents raised them well to be the person they were to be. Thus, it is only natural the lovers wanted their parents to bless the marriage as well.

Our Ananya is very adamant about wanting her parents to accept Krish. She could never imagine making them sad. The same goes for Krish, whose mother had sacrificed everything in order to raise him though she had been trapped in an abusive unhappy marriage.

The altercation between Krish’s mother, a typical loud-mouthed Punjabi woman and Ananya’s conservative reserved Tamilian parents are the funniest parts of the film. Literally, I cried my eyes out of funniness in the cinema. The differences in culture is great. Ananya’s parents are more rigid and traditional because they came from a pure Brahmin family, the highest of the caste system. They are vegetarians, which contradicts the Punjabi culture of loving food, including the non-vegetarian ones. The Punjabi culture in courtship and marriage also appeared to be more financially consuming based on how Krish’s mother would indirectly demand gifts from Ananya and her family, defending her opinion by saying that that is the way how in-laws should be treated.

However, the most important factor why Krish’s mother and Ananya’s parents could not get along was because of their clashing personalities. Krish’s mother is the gossip-y type of woman who can be inappropriately offensive at times whereas Ananya’s parents are quiet. Full stop. They don’t start a conversation unless necessary. Thus, always, when the three parents shared the same scene, they were either awkwardly silent or arguing with each other.

Alia Bhatt and Arjun Kapoor in 2 States

All these problems were the obstacles for our pair of lovers’ tireless effort to be with each other and at the same time, pursue their parents’ blessing. Misunderstandings happen and more than often, between love and family, our hero and heroine would choose family. However, that led to severe unhappiness to the both of them and thankfully, the parents realized this as well.

This film has a happy ending. No worries. And I swear to God I felt so happy after watching it. I smiled like a crazy person because I enjoyed it so much. The last time a romantic film touched me to such depth was a few years ago when I watched Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi.

THE HIGHLIGHTS OF THE FILMS…

1 – Arjun Kapoor as Krish Malholtra

I love the fact that I have found a new Indian actor to love and have been able to follow his career from the beginning. Arjun in Ishaqzaade, his debut work, did not really impress me much. Most probably because I was too overwhelmed by Parineeti’s awesomeness. But then, his second movie, Aurangzeb, completely changed my perception towards him. I realized that he is a good actor and is able to play both rough characters and a low-key moderate type of man as well. In Gunday, where he acted with Ranveer Singh, I do believe he was the better performer. He had great control over his emotions, showing us his humane side whilst playing a gangster.

Arjun-Kapoor-Bollywood-film-2-StatesIn 2 States, he played a normal middle-class man and he played it to perfection. I kept asking myself – “Arjun Baba, why are you so amazing?!!!” as I watched him on screen. He seems like a completely new person, transforming himself for his characters. I am definitely, most validly an Arjun Kapoor fan now.

2 – The Pace of the Love Story

I have to confess, I ABSOLUTELY DETEST AND HATE love story that occurred within the span of less than a week or two. Indian films have lots of this films where the hero meets the heroines and within three days, they are in love and a week later, they are willing to die for each other. May I repeat this for the gazillionth time – IT DOESN’T MAKE ANY FUCKING SENSE!!!!!! My goddess Parineeti’s latest film, Hasee Toh Pasee is, unfortunately, in that category as well but her exceptional performance as a mad scientist held the film together for me.

2states4I love how natural and realistic is the relationship between Krish and Ananya to me. They first became friends, then close friends, then casual lovers, then serious committed lovers to an engaged couple, and finally, husband and wife over the course of a few years. It did not happen instantly and they had lots of ups and downs, partly because of their parents’ clashing opinion. The most touching scene to me is at the end, during their wedding ceremony in this super beautiful ancient Hindu temple. Our heroine, Ananya, held down her tears as Krish was tying the thali (a necklace of marriage) to her. She cried because they had to overcome so many obstacles to be together and at the same time, managed to unite their parents as well.

3 – Filial Piety Based on Love, Not Fear

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I think in Asia, there is a misconception that children are bound by their parents’ opinion because of fear. That is wrong or an over-generalization. Most children care for their parents’ opinion and seek their blessings due to the deep love and respect. Ananya was steadfast in her stand that they should not elope and seek their parents’ blessing because she loved them. The same goes to Krish. They knew that their parents had sacrificed everything to make them happy. To elope and disregard their roles as children would simply be wrong and selfish. Amidst the intense love they have for each other, they remained reasonable and careful in their choices.

4 – The Music by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy

Listen to the soundtrack and you’ll get why. Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy is my favourite composer team ever. All of their works have never been less than perfect and AMAZING!!! My favourite tracks? Everything!!

In conclusion, 2 States is a highly watchable love story that is able to make you laugh, cry and feel for the characters at the same time. The plot touches you. The issues raised in this film is relatable. Aren’t we all trying to make our parents happy and at the same time, pursue what we desire most? I am so happy that 2014 has been so kind to me by producing such great Hindi films. Let’s hope for many more to come!!!!!!

Highway (2014): Bollywood Movie Review

My Rating: 4/5
My Rating: 4/5

Alia Bhatt was amazing in Highway (2014). A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!  I have to confess after I saw her acting in Student of the year and how snobbish she was during the interview, I hated her. I hated everything about her. Highway changed my perception towards her and you could say, I am pretty much looking forward to see her other films. Unlike Parineeti, Alia was born into the filmy background. Having a father as a famous director and uncle as famed actor, she was pretty much exposed to it in the very young age. Well, when Karan Johar launched Alia Bhatt’s career, you could presume it was all because of her father’s connection and contact. I didn’t want to be bias but man, if you watched student of the year, you would say ‘Is that really acting?’ I know Alia Bhatt will go far at that time but not because she was good in acting but come on, who doesn’t if you are the daughter of Mahesh Bhatt. Highway pretty much altered the notion I’ve had about Alia. She proved me wrong. I am not going to be her biggest fan but she will definitely be in my radar. Imtiaz Ali did bring out the best of her. She delivered her emotion very well as a girl with a dark childhood and has no say in her future.

Alia Bhatt as Veera Tripathi
Alia Bhatt as Veera Tripathi

Stockholm syndrome often occurred to a kidnapping victim whereby they will feel empathy towards their kidnapper or some of the worst case reported, they even fell in love with the kidnapper. Highway tried to show that the empathy feeling grows little by little and always depending on how long the victim will be spending time with the kidnapper. Alia’s portrayal as Veera Tripathi is one of her top notch acting by far. I already watch 2 states but Alia did not shine in that film. Arjun Kapoor did. Anyway, Ruby will review 2 states later so I am not going to write anything about it. The film begins with Veera and her family prepared for her wedding. The preparation and process is being recorded in the shopping mall and the house. Veera receives so many attentions to the point she finds it really suffocated. She then escaped from her house during night and met her fiancé for an hour. Her fiancé does not want to participate in Veera’s demand to drive in the middle of night but he conceded due to Veera’s Stubbornness. Later they stopped at closed petrol station and Veera get down from the car to get a fresh air.

Randeep Hooda as Mahabir
Randeep Hooda as Mahabir

Her fiancé, Vinay asked Veera to get in the car as soon as possible because anything can happen to her and they are not in the familiar area. That’s when Veera saw a group of criminal chasing and shooting each other at the very short range.  Veera panicked and freeze herself at the moment. That’s when Randeep Hooda who portrayed Mahabir, one of the criminal gang members dragged Veera and kidnapped her on the spot. Vinay stayed in the car and he was afraid to confront with the kidnappers. You know what did Vinay said to Veera when Veera called out his name asking to be saved? Vinay said ‘I did say it, Veera but you didn’t listen to me’. Well, a real classy comes in from fiancé who cowardly sitting in the car. Veera’s hand and mouth was tied and she was put in the lorry and drove off to the unrecognizable area in the country side.

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The Kidnapping of Veera Tripathi

Veera’s Kidnapping has been a matter of disagreement among Mahabir’s gang member. Knowing that she was a big business tycoon’s daughter will put them in jeopardy. Almost half of them agreed that she should be returned back to her father but Mahabir disagree. He left early in the morning with a few members in the gang who wanted to follow him. He treated Veera as humanely possible (though he still slapped her a few times) but considering she’s not getting rape or sexual assault, Veera is still considered lucky to me. They arrived at an old place of salt factory and decided to stay for a few nights there. In the middle of the night, Veera seek an opportunity to run but get caught by Mahabir. Mahabir was furious and he pushed Veera to run and try to save herself. Veera run as fast as she could only to find that there is no way out and she returned back to Mahabir with tears in her eyes. One of the Mahabir’s gang members try to molest Veera but get caught by Mahabir right away. Mahabir chased him away and they decided to continue traveling.

Their relationship grows within the time.
Their relationship grows within the time.

Along the journey, Veera develops feeling towards Mahabir and vice versa. Veera felt a freedom for the first time and with Mahabir by her side, she does not have to think any consequences for her action. She does not have to behave and she can pretty much do anything. At some point, when the truck crossed the border and the police forcefully wanted to check the truck, Veera hides from them. Mahabir and her friend confused with Veera’s action but Veera said she also confused with her action. Later, when their relationship begins to bloom and Mahabir aware that it could not proceed further considering he is a low life criminal and Veera is a daughter of rich and upper class family, he decided to send her off. He sent her to police station and tries to escape from her by disappearing at the bus station. Veera was enraged and try to search him at the station. Mahabir was happy that Veera didn’t return to her family and decided to stay with him a bit longer. They ran away together and stayed at the hilltop house for a few days. They relish the moments knowing that police will find them soon but before that happen, they find shelter and refuge in each other. Later, Mahabir was shot dead by the police and Alia tried to stop them but it was too late. He died on the spot and Alia was brought back to her family.

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Veera enjoying her freedom for the first time

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[SPOILER] There are 2 scenes that make me sobbing like a mad girl. There is one scene when Veera told Mahabir about her dark past. She has kept it for so long and she felt that telling Mahabir would relieve her burden for a second. She was molested (and possibly, raped) by her uncle repeatedly in the toilet. Her uncle would bring a chocolate to lure her into toilet and closed her mouth and did his dirty crime on her. Veera tried to scream and cry but her mouth is closed by her uncle’s hand. She told her mother about the event but her mother asked Veera to not tell anybody about this. The molestation and possible raping has stopped but her uncle still visits her and the family (even act like nothing happened around her). Veera cried while told Mahabir this story and Mahabir felt sympathy towards Veera. The second scene that makes me cried like a mad girl is when Veera returned to her family after Mahabir’s death and irritated that her family tried to continue the wedding and managed everything for her without asking her first. She exploded and while crying, she told what happened in her childhood and what her abusive uncle had done to her. Everybody gasps and shocked about what they hear but you will be surprised of what her father said in that matter. “Veera, we are a sensible person, we can talk about this”. UN-FUCKING-BELIEVABLE. Your daughter just told you she was sexually abused during her childhood and you told her to be sensible. The trauma that she endures for a past few years, the pain she felt and has no one to talk to and here you are, talking about sensibility. That was a very heartbreaking scene for me. Veera then left the house and tried to get away from her family. She returned to the mountain and lived there and cherished every memory she had with Mahabir there.

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Is this a love story? I don’t know. Is this a story of a bizarre relationship built by 2 fucked up people from a very dark past? Yes, it did capture the essence of the story. Overall, Randeep Hooda as Mahabir also deserved praise as he dealt an unresolved abandonment issue with his mother. Yes, He is a criminal but isn’t that some of the criminal are triggered by the element that made them what they do. That’s the story Imtiaz Ali tried to tell. Mahabir maybe a criminal but deep down, he still a human being like us, fragile and vulnerable when being confronted by the past and hidden memories of ours.

 

My New Flame, Priyanka Chopra

By The Gorgeous Palah Chingu

Before Barfi, no one ever thought Priyanka can act (what i’m trying to say that she can act but not brilliantly). Don’t blame me for saying so because I think she’s terrific in Anjaana Anjaani, Fashion, 7 khoon Maaf and Barfi. It is not her fault that people could not get past her gorgous body and exotic face. I mean, if you look at her, you know she looks different. Not bad different but good different. Well, if you beg to disagree with me, go on because she was after all Miss World Pageant 2000. Anyway, my intention here is not to write about Priyanka Chopra’s acting ability. I am sure all of you knew that she’s one of the fine actresses in Bollywood Industry right now. She earned so many awards and praised by critics for her films like Fashion (2008), 7 Khoon Maaf (2011) and Barfi (2012).

I am here just to spazzing how I love that she agreed to do item song for 2 films in 2012 and 1 film for 2013. Katrina Kaif will always be my goddess but damn, Priyanka may able to steal the title. Oh my god, this is so not straight statement from me. Haha.

  1. Asalaam E Ishqum – Gunday (2014)

The moment I listened to this song in cinema, I was instantly hooked. Everything is so masala and overdramatic. Priyanka as a cabaret girl in this song just blew me away. I mean, who the fuck does not want to tap that ass (Palah, please control your lust). I am a freaking straight girl but if I get any chance with her, well that could turn out to be another story. She’s hot in her own music video ‘Erotic’ but it is incomparable in this music video. I wish Ranveer and Arjun didn’t featured in the video though the voice of male playback singer in the song is so addictive. I don’t know how many times I raped the repeat button on my Ipod for this song only.

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  1. Ram Chahe Leela – Ram Leela (2013)

Ram Chahe Leela might not appeal you at first, but It will grows on you. I mean, Ram Leela film’s sound track is pretty damn good. From Ang Laga De, Lahu Munh Lag Gaya to Nagada Sang Dhol, you will be hooked to all of it right away. Ram Chahe Leela might take a longer time for me to like it, but hey, In the end, i love it as much as other song. Priyanka agreed to cameo for this song and she delivered the hell of a dance in the film. The voice of playback singer in the song also suited her looks well.

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  1. Babli Badmaash Hai (2013)

I don’t really love Babli Badmaash. The hype around the song is so huge that when I listened to it, I am kind of disappointed. This is the first item song that Priyanka agreed to do in Bollywood. When Priyanka fans spreading the word about how good it was, I was actually feeling ‘Mehhhhh’ about the song. The dance routine is good and Priyanka in black leather tight one piece suit with neon light attached is freaking weird but sexy in the same time. Maybe I just didn’t love the song. I still enjoy Priyanka in this anyway (or maybe because John Abraham was in there too). Haha.

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Goliyon Ki Raasleela – Ram Leela (2013) : Bollywood Movie Review

By the Gorgeous Palah Chingu

My Rating: 3.8/5
My Rating: 3.8/5

I knew that Ram Leela was sanjay leela bhansali’s next film in 2012. Although the lead cast is not finalized at that time, seeing ranveer singh and Kareena Kapoor listed as the main one put this film automatically on my radar. I am not so fond of Kareena but maybe after seeing she on screen with ranveer in the future will make me love her. Don’t misunderstood me, I don’t hate kareena, I thinks she’s fine as an actress but I don’t really go crazy over her. However, after a few rumors about Kareena will not going to do this film, the truth about it get out eventually. I watched a few interviews that said kareena thought the love scene is too intense and lustful and she scared of Ranveer Singh’s playfulness and beyond control on the set. I am sure we all can see that (especially those who watched koffee with Karan). Ranveer’s hyper activeness may lead some uncomfortable feeling with her co-star. Who can blame Kareena right? She maybe just doesn’t want any childishness drama.

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Romeo and Juliet theme in Bollywood film scene is uncommon. The love bird in the film usually will live happily ever after many scenes of chasing and fighting with the unapproved heroin’s father and brother or after the hero covered in blood and pretty much will be dead in next second suddenly gained massive strength because of her girl screamed for help. That is bollywood for you. If you happen to watch any Indian films with not so happy ending, that film maybe will be categorized under unconventional films in India. However, I am not here to blather about commercial films and unconventional films in Bollywood. Everyone had their own preferences in film and movie and that is why we had freedom of choice in the first place.

Deepika Padukone as 'Leela'
Deepika Padukone as ‘Leela’

Deepika as Leela is not disappointing (actually ‘not disappointing’ will be an understatement). I knew she can act brilliantly since I watched cocktail (2012). She was amazing in cocktail (2012) and in this film, dude, the way she brought Leela character is flawless. I like how deepika embodied the character of Leela as flirtatious and playful girl and at the same time, brave and dare to play with fire too. It is just perfect fit for Deepika. I can vividly remember how she does not seem hesitate to kiss Ram at all though it was their first meeting. That was one of my favorite scenes in this film. The intensified desire and lust is just exploding all over their face. Ram ached for leela and so does leela. The fact that there are barrier between them as both came from Rajari and Sanera family who had been a mortal enemy with each other for so many years does not even bothered them to engage in secret relationship. Maybe forbidden fruit is sweetest suits their situation best. The excitement and thrill of having to conceal secret passion with each other makes them inseparable.

Ranveer Singh as Ram
Ranveer Singh as Ram

Ranveer singh as Ram not brought so much impact to me as deepika did though I did watch this film initially because of him. Deepika did overshine ranveer in so many ways. Maybe the fact that when people in the film talked about how much ram and ranveer resembled each other turned me off a little bit. If they are so similar, then what ranveer did in the film is not acting but just being him. For me, Ranveer’s best performance is in the Lootera (2012). Being a looter and in the same time accidentally fell in love with the daughter of the man he looted is definitely a different role for Ranveer. He’s not being childlike in the film, he’s matured but in the same time was tormented inside, he wanted to stop being a professional thief but he’s indebted to his uncle which he assumed as his savior. Lootera showed that ranveer can play with so many emotions and it came across in the film. I think he did a very good job in that film (Lootera). Ram’s character maybe just as the additional spices in the film. Without Ram, the forbidden love will not appear in the first place. There are some moments when Ranveer did a good job as Ram but that’s it, nothing else.

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However, their chemistry is the thing people talked most before, during and after watching this film. No doubt, hands down to both of them, they could burn the cinema screen with their fiery and sizzling acting. If this film is added with a little hollwood-ish, the passionate lovemaking scene would appear twice and more. Sanjay Leela Bhansali decided not to do any bed scene in this film and of course, ruby and I disappointed. I mean, if you watch this film, you kind of wanted that particular scene to happen. It should been there because what else lust and love is for? (Please spare me your bullshit of love is more than sex, I don’t need to hear any of it). Unfortunately, it didn’t happen. They got separated forcedly before their first night together and within that time, Sanera and Rajari’s family fight elongated with so many crisis and restless power struggle. When they finally reconciled, both of them had taken over family business and obligated to make it prosper and thrive even they had to hurt each other. The loveless reconciliation over Ram and Leela in that scene is my top favorite scene in the film. Their soul tied to each other but their feet are chained with the name and honor of family.

Supriya Pathak as Dhankor Baa
Supriya Pathak as Dhankor Baa

I don’t know if you guys realized this but this film is dominated with many good actresses. They all did their part brilliantly. Beside Deepika in the film, Deepika’s Mom and sister in law are equally among the added factor of how good this film is. Supriya Pathak as Dhankor Baa should be lauded with applause. I know some would say that evil character is easy to play. Well, playing a role as a high ranking and respected leader that led family clan business to thrive and even survived in the male dominated society demanded someone who can do it right. Supriya Pathak nailed the role and her presence in the film is something you can’t push away. Being ‘Baa’ and looked up by others as a clan leader, people terrified of her and her order remains their highest concern. She loved Leela but just not the same way typical mother would love her daughter. She punished Leela for her sin and even cut her finger off when Leela defied her order.

Richa Chadda as Rasila
Richa Chadda as Rasila

Richa Chadda may not have big role in this film but if you ever watched Gangs of Wasseypur (1 & 2), her acting talent is just way above the par. She may not be a typical pretty as bollywood commercial film heroin had but acting wise, she’s the one. Being Rasila in this film is not so lucky obviously. She’s also got caught between petty fight between Rajari and Sanera. She ended up being a widow when Ram killed her husband as retaliation of his brother being shot at the scene. However, she wanted Ram and Leela to have a happy ending and urged them to run away and never came back. Little did she know that they will get caught and it cause the family fight to become bigger. She also almost got raped and being molested by Ram’s friend while tried to find Ram to reconnect him back with Leela. Rasila is not a typical girl who came back crying after the incident. She tried to convince Leela that Ram and his friends is just same and not worth anything good. Considering she almost got raped, she’s got the point for saying so. Still, Rasila being a selfless sister for Leela, taking good care of her and persuade Leela to replace Baa and try to continue their family legacy.

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This film overall was pretty good. It is strictly for entertainment movie with a sole theme ‘that we would die in each other arm’. The ending also turned out to be the biggest disappointment (after no bed scene found) in this film as ruby said, it is so similar with Ishaqzaade (2011). We all know that they both be dead at the end of the film, we just wanted a different kind of ending. Deepika Padukone is truly a jewel in this film. She carried the whole movie with the help of Supriya Pathak and Richa Chadda. Ranveer singh, after all, is just the eye candy in this film. I like him but his role in this film is just sort of there and he failed to make a new rendition of Ram like Leela did. The soundtrack on the other hands is fantastic. I listened to the whole album before the film is being released. Of course, the song of Nagada Sang Dhol, Ang Laga de and Lahu Munh Lag Gaya would be my first choice. The whole album is enjoyable to listen with a little bit of mystical and cultural sound. Ram Chahe Leela might not hit well with you when you listened to it first, but it grew on you after a few times repeating it. All the songs fit well with the film scene and fuck yeah, I am satisfied with it.

SHANGHAI (2012) – Bollywood Film Review

BY RUBY CHINGU

RATING: 8/10 | Directed by: Dibakar Banerjee | Written by: Urmi Juvekar, Dibakar Banerjee, Rutvik Oza

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Shanghai is not a happy film. Not everyone may find it enjoyable. However, if one is a fan of a good political drama, some sort of a people-against-system tale, then this film is a delectable feast.

The premise of Shanghai is fairly simple. It revolved an enquiry into the accident of a noted anti-government activist, Dr Ahmed that led him into a state of comatose. Set in a small but politically active (fictional) town of Bharat Nagar, the story is narrated to us through the perspective of three main characters – Krishnan (Abhay Deol), a senior civil servant in charge of the enquiry, Shalini (Kalki Koechlin), a young activist and lover of Dr Ahmedi and Jogi (Emraan Hashimi), a video shop assistant with a lewd reputation. Even though they belonged to different sides, all three characters had the same purpose of uncovering the truth – was Mr Ahmedi’s accident was indeed an accident or a planned murder?

What makes the film compelling (aside from the brilliant and sharp performances by the actors) is the honest realistic way it protrayed the helpness of the society against a corrupt and inefficient system (of government). Shanghai is not trying to be a political thriller – it is a drama film that deals with human corruption.

Trying to discover the truth behind the accident, our neatly dressed officer, Krishnan has to go to great lengths, despite having the backing of the Chief Minister. Things were further complicated when the suspects involved in the accident are the members of a political party in alliance with the ruling party. He wanted to do his job well – and was even criticized for it. Being a man of integrity in such an unappreciative system can be very daunting. Being the head of the enquiry, he was attacked from all sides – the police were unwilling to cooperate with him, the local political parties were threatened to harm him and the townspeople were unwilling to spill anything in fear of retaliation. Except for the eagerness of a few (Dr Ahmedi’s supporters, including Shalini), he was left with literally no support to achieve his goal. Every second I spent watching this film, I lamented on how helpless the characters are in trying to fight for justice when people do not really care about it at all.

ImageMy admiration to Abhay Deol is not a secret. I’ve worshiped him since I saw him in Dev.D. He is one of those serious actors that does not really enjoy all this glitzy glamorous side of films. He told an interviewer once that he cannot stand having an item song in his film (which is weird, cause I think he did dance for one in another film). He often plays VERY unconventional (and rarely likable) characters that one does not really see in mainstream Hindi films. In Shangai, he does not disappoint. Shedding his urban boyish image, he stepped into the shoes of a calm and collected government official, something he has not done before. Abhay is used to playing really intense characters. However, in this film, he had to display the intense emotions in a very moderate manner, like how a normal middle-aged man would. And he did it superbly. Though I do miss his cheeky smiles now and then.

ImageThe star of the film, for me, is Kalki Koechlin as Shalini. Witnessing the horrifying accident of her mentor/lover right before her eyes, she was in a fight for justice. Due to her foreign looks, many deemed her as an outsider when she was obviously a daughter of a convicted General who had been living in the town since forever. She was a nobody, an activist nobody really noticed. If Krishnan had it difficult, Shalini had it wayyyy worse. There were fears and traumas on her face. Willing to do anything to obtain evidence to gain justice for Dr Ahmedi, her mentor, she was willing to go to great lengths. In my opinion, Shalini is the most intense character here and Kalki played it convincingly. She expressed her emotion with her facial expressions, conveying much without saying anything.

Jogi came into the picture as the photographer on duty at the place where Dr Ahmedi’s accident happened. Doubling as a porn filmmaker at night, he did not really give a shit about the political incidents around him. He was quite the useless bum who lived off the earnings of his uncle, who owned the video shop. Only after his uncle’s death (presumably murdered by the political goons) that he responded Shalini’s plead to help her. It was an unlikely path for him.

ImageMay I just say – I think Kalki and Emraan have an amazing chemistry. They are not lovers in this film – far from that – but basically two people who were brought together to fight a common enemy that had taken from them the most important person in their lives. Nevertheless, they look so hot together – in a weird way, because I don’t think they were supposed to look hot together, since their characters are not a couple. Get what I mean? Yeah, anyway, I am not sure if the chemistry was intended by the director or not but damn, it was enjoyable to see. The unlikely pair, the pair with different facial features, the pair with astoundingly different personality traits etc etc you get what I mean. He’s a low-life pornographist, she’s a righteous activist.There could not be two people more different than each other. Yet, somehow, Kalki and Emraan made me wish that they would act in another film together, again (they did in Ek Thi Diyaan) but I want them specifically as LOVERS.I can totally imagine them as being completely in love with each other.

ImagePlease doooo…. *praying superbly hard*

ImageImage

CHITTAGONG (2012) – REVIEW

BY RUBY CHINGU

“Have you ever seen the elephant in the zoo? The chains tied in his legs are much weaker than the elephant’s strength. Still it fails to break that chain. Because he is habitual of remaining tied.” – Surya Sen, played by Manoj Bajpai.

RATING: 9/10 | Directed by: Bedabrata Pain | Written by: Bedabrata Pain, Shonali Bose

ChittagongposterLet’s cut to the chase – Chittagong, despite its humble reputation, is a marvelous film. It deserves wayyyyy more glory, fame and appreciation than it did. A historical drama film -based on true events – revolving around the resistance movement led by a teacher named Masterda Surya Sen during the 1930s, it captured the raw emotions of a young boy, Jhunku, who was torn between his bright future and his sense of duty to join the revolution. The resistance movement of India was against the rule of the British Raj was on the rise at that time – many freedom fighters longed for independence from the colonial rule. Surya Sen’s revolutionary group, based in a small town in Chittagong, consisted mainly of young boys, some barely 15 years of age. Nevertheless, the factor did not deter them to fight for their rights and the willingness to die for their cause.

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What makes the story so touching is how it delicately portrayed Jhunku’s journey from an innocent teenager to a brave rebel fighter. He did not plan to do so until he witnessed a friend got shot in cold blood by a police officer. That has been the turning point for him. The moment he decided to dedicate his life for Surya Sen’s cause, there was no turning back.

The feel of the film is very minimalist, the pace is slow but in a very good way. It is a story of a doomed resistance. A small group of villagers against the British troops? We all know how it was going to end. But the characters made us believe in the cause they were championing for. Even if it was going to end badly for them – meaning death – but the movement would spark many other revolutions across India. To see a leader like Surya Sen who could envision a free India from an unknown village in Chittagong is inspiring.

Chittagong (2012) - 1CD - DVD Rip - x264 - 5.1 AAC - Eng Sub [DDR].mkv_003803640Unlike many of his intense characters, Manoj Bajpai is calm as Surya Sen. He invoked charisma just by using his expressions without the need to utter anything – a skill not many actors have. I can’t help but to be in awe of his personality, too, like the followers of his resistance movement. He never raised his voice in anger, he planned his actions carefully and he advised them to always believe the impossible. Nawazuddin Siddique is also equally impressive, playing the role of Nirmal Sen, the second in command. He was in a relationship a fellow fighter, Priti, but their romance was cut short by the sacrifices they made for the movement. Both died for their cause.

Chittagong (2012) - 1CD - DVD Rip - x264 - 5.1 AAC - Eng Sub [DDR].mkv_004563560The star of the show, for me, is undoubtedly Jhunku (Delzad Hiwale), the main character (and boy in the poster), a fourteen years old boy who unexpectedly joined the resistance movement despite coming from a privileged background. He threw away his chance to go to Oxford and chose to fight alongside Surya Sen. Even after he was captured, beaten up and tortured in the most horrendous manner, he remained silent and refused to expose the names and locations of his comrades. Delzad played Jhunku brilliantly, considering that he is a new actor and was barely 18 at that time. Acting alongside Manoj, who is possibly the greatest contemporary Indian actor today, he also had the ability to convey his emotions through his eyes, representing a boy small stature with an unbeatable courage.

To see how the resistance movement against the British troop failed at the second half of the story is heartbreaking. However, Surya Sen’s mission was never to win against them – for he knew that they would not – but to prove that the Bristish soldiers were not invincible and that the Indian were capable of breaking their security. That mission was accomplished with many lives lost but it  was worth it. The news was spread everywhere,

The scene I cried the most is when Jhunku and two other fighters went to get food from a grocery shop as they were hiding from the British. The shopkeeper, a Muslim man, told them that the news of the Chittagong attack had spread, triggering the belief in freedom even in the most pessimistic Indians.

Chittagong (2012) - 1CD - DVD Rip - x264 - 5.1 AAC - Eng Sub [DDR].mkv_002917880Chittagong (2012) - 1CD - DVD Rip - x264 - 5.1 AAC - Eng Sub [DDR].mkv_002931520 When they wanted to pay for the food, he said, “If I charge my own people, I won’t get a place even in Hell. I pray for you everyday.  Today, I’ll pray for some more. May Allah gives you success.

As the film ended, my eyes were swollen. The film haunted me with its story, its characters and the moral values and principles it conveyed. And the song Bolo Na, sung by Shankar Mahadevan, induced me into tears as well. How can a film be so brilliantly sad and inspiring at the same time….

P/S: Palah Chingu and I are getting more and more addicted to sad depressing Bollywood films. Haish… How can we not when they are so good? But please, happy shallow films, please be as good as sad depressing films as well so that me and Palah can balance out our emotions. TT

Shuddh Desi Romance (2013) – Review

BY RUBY CHINGU (who is already smiling like a madwoman…)

MV5BMTU0NjI2MTI0Ml5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNjI4MzY5OQ@@._V1_SX640_SY720_RATING -9/10

Director – Maneesh Sharma

Writer – Jaideep Sahni

After spending many hours watching intense political thrillers like Madras Cafe and D-Day, Shuddh Desi Romance came into my life like an aromatic cup of Starbucks coffee in the morning – strong, awakening and just beautiful. My face muscles were so exhausted as I could not stop smiling and gushing over the story for the whole two and half hours.

Set in a small colourful town of Jaipur, Shuddh Desi Romance (Pure Desi Romance) is about the desires, love, lust but mostly confusions of charming young man with a heavenly smirk  named  Raghu (Sushant Singh Rajput). Trapped between his modern carefree personality and the traditional Indian ‘mating/wedding’ culture, Raghu thought he had always wanted to get married. He agreed to an arranged married, only to chicken out later, leaving the girl at the altar. THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is only the beginning.

The core themes of the film are many – one of them is the relevancy of marriage (or any institutionalized culture) in any consensual love relationships. Our character, Raghu is a man who believes in love, attraction, devotion etc etc. It is only marriage that he is uncomfortable about and the big mysterious responsibility around it. He is not really commitment-phobic. Marriage-phobic might be the most accurate description. When he met Gayatri (Parineeti Chopra), an independent brutally honest girl, he fell head over heels with her. After a few days dating her, he left his house and moved into her flat. Clingy, much? Or maybe he was just being optimistically endearing.

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Inevitably, there is always this assumption that couples who are in a stable relationship MUST be in want of a marriage. Surely, they would want to ‘legitimize’ their union, whatever that means. However, what if there are certain people who are comfortable the way they are? What if marriage is not exactly their thing? It may happen to some. Nevertheless, most have to conform to the entrenched culture of marriages, only to doubt their decisions.

Raghu and Gayatri’s relationship was somehow ruined by the thoughts that they should get married when it was obvious that both of them did not really believe in weddings, what more marriage. After being dumped by Gayatri, Raghu started dating Tara (Vaani Kapoor), his ex-fiancee and was quite happy with her to the extent that he planned to propose to her. Again, in a classic Raghu style, he had doubts again. Should he or should he not get married?

Right before the proposal, he encountered Gayatri again and realized that amidst the up and downs of their past relationship, he had always loved her. Tara ended things with him and Raghu reunited with our heroine. Three days later, they had a wedding, only to run away from it as well – yup, both of them.

So, what exactly is the problem here? Not our Raghu and Gayatri but the wedding itself. Why is it always there, haunting and chasing our main couple like a parasite? Not trying to sound pessimistic or anti-marriage here but I love the ending where both of them decided that they would be together despite not being ready for marriage. So what? I love you, you love me. I am not ready to get married. So are you. Where does the need to get married comes from?

Who knows. What I do know that this film is a love story and love wins in the end.

Why should you watch the film?

The plot. It is not a conventional love story. It is a refreshing and very different interpretation of romance. Instead of naming it Shuddh Desi Romance, it should be called Unique Modern vs. Traditional Romance instead. Raghu’s journey to discovering his true position about the whole wedding marriage thing is entertaining. It was obvious from the beginning of the film that he had commitment issues but it was not until the end that he was aware of them. Haish, so innocent…..

The excellent cinematography. The main reason why the film is very enjoyable. Contrasting vibrant colours. Colours, colours and more colours.

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Great couple dynamic. The chemistry between Sushant Singh Rajput and Parineeti Chopra as Raghu and Gayatri captured me within ten minutes. One is an awkward people-pleasing guy, another is a brutally honest independent girl who smoked the first time our hero met her.

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He’s the emotional sweet boyfriend, she’s the clear-headed rational girlfriend. He was optimistically foolish about what he wants in his life and she was pessimistically realistic about the nature of their relationship. One thing they share in common is that they love and can’t get enough of each other. All those elements make the couple so addictive to watch.

A likable second heroine with a strong character. Tara, Raghu’s girlfriend after Gayatri, and Raghu were genuinely attracted to each other. However, she always knew that Raghu’s a bit of a confused person and their relationship would not last long.

Shuddh Desi Romance (2013) - BDRip - XviD - 1CDRip - [DDR].avi_004636708Nevertheless, it was surprisingly sweet while it lasted, though my heart will always belong to the Raghu-Gayatri couple.

The soundtrack. The song Gulabi. Need I say more? (Though I do wish they make a music video of the song featuring Raghu and Gayatri instead of Tara.)

Shuddh Desi Romance is a beautiful story even with an unconventional storyline. Most importantly, it makes an audience like me go through a whirlwind of emotions – happiness, nervousness, sadness, confusions – as it led me into an unpredictable confusing journey of being a young person in love.

I am so fucking happy and grateful to the Mr Sahni who wrote the story . Mr Sahni, I love you! *sobs* *mentally touching your feet as a sign of respect*

SPAZZING TIME!!

SWOON, BABY, SWOON…

May I just fucking say… Sushant Singh Rajput. Hai Allah, save me please… was phrase I uttered most as I was trying to keep myself sane as I watched his acting in this film. Raghu is always attracted to dominant opinionated women. Always a people-pleaser, he often tries to make his lover happy. Exactly my type of man. *cries* He’s so perfect.

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Damn, I’m so happy! Please God there are more films like this to come…