And Yet One More

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Bihar main ek kahawat hain, mard jab tak chita pe naheen baithta, use buddha naheen kahete.

-Old Is Gold (2007)

Figure 1: The birthday of the future (or so I wish)

The 5-bit counter overflows. I turn 32.

Maturity, responsibility and a sense of balance beckons.

I, however, refuse to listen.

[What I said at 31 and at 30]

Happy New Year everyone !

Figure 2: The birthdays of the past (or so I remember)

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Greatbong's Awesomely Great Movies of 2007

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There is so much tequila one can drink and head-ache pills one can take and time one can kill. Which is why I have been unable to see many of the gems that have been released this year, each of them possible candidates for my “awesomely great movies”— the “Reds”, the “Cash”s, the “ShakalakaBoomBoom”s, the “Fool N Finals”, the “Good Boy Bad Boy”s and the “Naqaab”s. Based on the ones I did manage to see however, here is my list of the 5 movies of 2007 that will be remembered in the anals (intentionally misspelt) of Hindi filmdom.

5. RaqeebRivals in Love: The reasons why I loved Raqeeb are:

a) A love quadrilateral. Nothing gets my respect more than when people dare to dream beyond the hoary triangle.

b) Rahul Khanna standing up in a restaurant and saying ” I am not gay” ala Larry Craig.

c) Plump bird Tanusree Dutta and her Jharkhands.

d) The most wicked plot resolution. Ever. After the villains make an elaborate (and I do mean elaborate) plan to murder the hero, they find that the hero has seen through their whole plot. How? Through deduction? No. Through guesswork? No. Then how? Well as the hero reveals: when the villains were making their plots, “sab computer pe record ho gya” and he came to know of it immediately. That’s it. Wickedly simple and yet like all great twists I never saw it coming.

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Greatbong's Best Movies of 2007

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[This list is based on the movies I have seen through 2007. I have not seen "Dharm" or "Blue Umberella" , which is why they were not considered in the making of this list. ]

6. Guru Is it a public-relations piece that seeks to white-wash the sleazy legacy of a corporate criminal by presenting him as a crusader against a flawed economic system ? Or is it a “warts-and-all” biopic of one of modern India’s most significant figures colored by director Maniratnam’s over-all sympathy for the main character?

What makes “Guru” such a delight, besides the Maniratnam-signature polish and the rock-solid performances (Mithun-da rocks but what’s new?), is that it provokes debate, not just on the director’s motivations or the saintliness of the protagonist but also whether it was “Guru”bhai who corrupted the system or whether it was the corruption inherent in the system that made “Guru”bhai inevitable ? A detailed review here.

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Greatbong's Worst Movies of 2007

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[Explanation: The lower down in the list, the worse the movie is. And I should add---this is the worst among those I have seen. For instance I have not seen "Tararumpum".]

7. No Smoking: Going through the blogpost of director Anurag Kashyap and the comments thread below, I understood that if you declare “No Smoking” to be anything except sensational film-making, you are either of two things 1) a philistine who does not understand alternative narrative styles in films 2) a motivated industry-reviewer in the pay of the big studios.

In my defense, I do appreciate (not always though) the David Lynch style of movie-making. I have nothing against movies with non-linearities and more than a dash of the surreal. I admire Anurag Kashyap–I loved “Black Friday” (it was my movie of the year 2005). I did get the Howard Roark-inspired philosophy of arrogant contempt for the hostility of second hand souls that guides both the director of “No Smoking” and its principal protagonist K. I have also not been paid off by the big studio houses nor have I sent lovey dovey SMSs to the director and been rebuffed. And yet I found “No Smoking” to be nothing but a heavy-handed, bloated work of film-making where the relentless obscurantism leads not to a revelatory pay-off (the “aha” moment that Mulholand Drive brings you) but to utter disorientation and ultimately boredom.

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A Ban Is Imposed

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I am, by nature, not a violent man and so do not believe in retaliating angrily to every provocation or perceived injustice.

But sometimes, just sometimes, something happens that totally makes me lose my cool and lash out with righteous anger and vengeance.

I am referring to Biharsharif MLA Sunil Kumar Singh’s, chairman of some organization acronymed BIMPA (Bihar-Jharkhand Motion Pictures Association), imposed ban on the showing of any movie that stars Mithun Chakraborty in the states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh since April.

If Mr. Singh’s goonda-gardi had been restricted to just Prabhuji I would still have been been angry but perhaps not as frothing at the mouth like I am now. But no, that dark agent of Sauron has gone further and even banned movies of Mithun-putra Mahashakti-shaali, God of all things, Mimoh. (not that Mimoh has any movies released but that’s not the point)

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The Champion

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Cricinfo 2005:

The wheel has turned, and Ganguly’s time is over.

For all he has contributed to this team, Ganguly deserved a better farewell – if indeed that’s what this is – than being abruptly dropped. He deserved to walk away into the sunset, head held high, not be nudged out, first by coach, then the media, the public, and finally the selectors. But then again, with his batting, his behaviour and his almost stubborn refusal to let go, he barely gave anyone a chance to do any better by him.

Cricinfo 2007:

But he is living out a fairytale at the moment, and nothing he achieves will be a surprise anymore. There are many, me included, who believed Ganguly’s time as an international cricketer was over. We owe him an apology and a salute.

Thank you dear Cricinfo for being person enough to say that. Now kindly send two slices of that pie you are having, the one from  “Humble” bakery, to an Australian somewhere in Rajasthan and an Indian somewhere in Chandigarh overseeing the India Cricket League.

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The Howitzer 2007

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For those of you who are new to these parts, the Howitzer Awards (the Pulitzer Awards are a cheap knock-off ) was established in 2006 by the Trustees of RTDM to honor the best of Indian net journalism.

Last year, this was won by IndiaDaily’s entertainment section, helmed by the redoubtable Lara Larani and Pam Bhandari for their exposes on lesbianism in Bollywood, “skirt-raising seduction”, how Mallika uses the same underwear for a week, how two Bolly hotties fought topless in a nightclub and the profusion of smelly Hindi movie creatures. [For details, read the citation for the 2006 Awards]

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The Pink-headed League

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Laloo Yadav’s fodder-filled pot belly. Kareena Kapoor dancing to exaggerated facial expressions. Big bear Inzamam Ul Haq‘s “Bismillah ur Rehman ur Rahim”. Sporty men catwalking in shocking pink uniforms (picture courtesy Bombaybitch) Brian Lara in orange. Diya Mirza expressing her love for cricket. Stupendous sums of money. Twenty-two men, some with a great future behind them and some with no future ahead, running around on a bumpy cricket field in front of non-existent audiences.

Yes all this can mean only one thing.

The India Cricket League, the sporting equivalent of Mithunda’s “alternative Bollywood” in Ooty, is on.

And I, for one, am rooting for the ICL, even though doomed to failure it is in front of the “official” BCCI league with its monopolistic hold over the current stars and the real stadiums.

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