• Sucker punched

    There are movies that challenge your imagination to an extent that you end up believing in the unreal. Sucker Punch is not one of them. Yet, most of the movie seems like a game developer's ultimate fantasy. It almost seems like director Zack Snyder has an obsessive fetish for gaming and making this movie was just a way to indulge in the same. And like most movies of this genre, if you try to look beyond the thrilling application of VFX and gaming visuals, you see very little.

    Sucker Punch begins with a slow-mo montage, accompanied by excessively dramatic hamming, as you follow the story of Baby Doll (Emily Browning) who is forcefully sent to a mental institution by her step father. And her twisted journey begins from that point on. For most part of the movie, this graphic version of the rabbit hole seems like a gentleman's club, which is a warped idea to begin with. Baby finds friends at this fantastic place who become her aides in her metaphoric struggle to escape. Yes, metaphoric as

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  • Woody Allen admitted last year that he's taken to shooting in Europe, as he cannot afford New York anymore. But look at every second K-Jo saga or Yash Raj blockbuster and you'd think the Big Apple was as common as Matheran or Mount Abu. Another incredible news that came in last year was about Disney's most promising project, "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides", that releases in May this year. The Jack Sparrow cult film has suffered budget cuts amounting to more than a third of the originally decided amount. And even as we swallowed this piece of information, we learnt that Farhan Akhtar's spent a cool crore to fly down tomatoes from Portugal to Spain to shoot the 'Tomatino' festival in his latest, "Zindagi Na Milege Dobara". But a crore is hardly shocking, since the producers of 'All the best' spent three crores just to shoot a song sequence last year. So are our desi film-makers getting high on moolah while their LA counterparts check into financial rehab? And is the buck

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  • Bum Maaro Bum

    "Hey, phir dekh raha hain… Aaj aakh senkh raha, kal haath senkhega. Aaj dheel chod raha hain, kal khud hi rokega. Aaj mere liye chair kheench raha hain, kal meri skirt kheenchega." These poetic words begin the rehashed version of the iconic classic Dum Maaro Dum from Rohan Sippy's latest of the same name. Since the music of the film is composed by de-composer, copy king, Pritam, it must've been a delight for him to officially do a cover of this classic pothead song, having had a resume filled with unofficial rip-offs. The song, despite the lyrics, will manage to become a hit with clubs everywhere as the chords of the original are hands down, legendary. And Deepika grooving in her shreds-for-a-skirt will only add value to the song. Touché to sleaze appeal!

    Apart from the song, a lot of people are very hopeful about Dum Maaro Dum as the movie is one of the big releases after the obvious off-season in Bollywood, courtesy the cricket World Cup. Also, box office speculators are willing to

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  • Some songs have longevity and live on in our ears for years
    (excuse the nonsensical rhyming). This is probably the reason why artists
    decide to do covers or cleverly weave popular melodies into their own
    compositions. Point of fact, the latest Jennifer Lopez video, 'On the Floor'
    which blatantly borrows the Lambada tune in the intro and chorus. Most would
    know the tune well since Bollywood had paid its own tribute to the popular
    number with 'Sochna Hai Kya' from the movie Ghayal. Now, there are two ways of
    looking at it. The first and the most obvious one being, this is a distasteful
    rip-off and Jenny should go back to her block and be blocked from making music.
    Second and perhaps a very considerate (and imaginative) stand would be to look
    at it as an emotional tribute to a melody that probably has a pleasant association
    for Jenny. But the fact that this song (Lambada) sold a lot of records dismisses
    the latter stream of thought, as ethical and even legal implications come to
    the

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  • When I first watched 'The King's Speech', I felt like dashing off an article on this subject right away. But journalistic principles made me hold my peace for the moment. After all, before writing about something, one must ensure it is topical. Fortunately, the film's spectacular display at the Academy Awards this year, (rounding up the best actor, film, director and original screenplay trophies) means one thing: we can talk about it and deliciously, even compare it to the Hindi film industry.

    Bollywood's treatment of people with disabilities can be best described as lame. Blind mothers, deaf sisters and speech-challenged comic characters are mere props for our filmmakers to create convenient situations. This has held true for Hindi movies, down the ages. Sanjay Leela Bhansali, who has mastered the art of the formulaic magnum opus productions, is another example. Bhansali's films are, ostensibly, tales of quiet desperation, laced with social ostracisation and a generous dose of pathos.

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  • Recently, I bumped into a website called www.celebwears.com, managed by Vatsal Seth (the guy who was a side-kick to the DC automobile in Tarzan: The Wonder Car). The site as the name spells retails merchandise, clothes worn by stars (hopefully dry cleaned) and even production items and props used in films. So, everything from Kareena's wine-colored dress from the movie Main Aur Mrs Khanna to Bipasha's gym wear in All the Best to Ranbir's doll from the movie Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani are all just a mouse-click (and several hundred dollars) away. With a customer base predominantly including wealthy NRIs who want to buy a piece of their desi filmdom, this could just seem like the next big idea?

    But the idea of this post is to not speculate whether Vatsal Seth has a whole new career (or a career to begin with) or not. What is of concern is that almost every film that has released in the last few years has released a fashion line to promote the outfits worn in the film (from Wake up Sid

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  • I was having this heated discussion with this film critic friend recently which calls for your opinion and hence is suitable for this space. So, I present both the cases in front of you and you have the liberty of picking either side.

    Let me start from the beginning. It all began when I happened to watch the promo of this upcoming action-thriller "Knock Out". It began with aerial flashes of Mumbai city, intercut with the most bizarre punch-line (so much that you want to punch the guy who wrote it!). It said, "All politics is economics" followed by an exchange of wise cracks between the lead cast (Sanjay Dutt, Irfan Khan) and then the second blow, "All economics is money". While you try to decipher the deep message this film is trying to convey, you're presented with the re-enactment of the classic scene from the film Phone Booth where a person has been kept hostage in a telephone booth and instructed to perform certain tasks.

    Only here, Colin Farell is replaced by Irfan Khan (with his

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  • A lesson in love

    I've learnt my share of lessons on love the hard way, like everyone else. But in retrospect, we rarely absorb anything from what we learn. This usually results in walking into a pole with the knowledge of being hit face first. And while we believe that stars lead a far more superficial life than us, there are times when they surprise us with a generous display of human feelings.

    So, when I met Vidya Balan, she mentioned an incident that taught her a lesson that she remembers for life. The lesson was if you loves someone and feel for that person, don't hold back in expressing your true feelings.

    The incident dates back to Vidya's childhood. There used to be an old watchman who was a favourite among all the kids in Vidya's colony. They dotingly called him Abi. Apart from playing with the kids, he would often treat them to fruits and considered the kids to be his own. Then there was a time when Abi was diagnosed with a disease and was rarely seen about. While some of Vidya's friends went

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  • Food for tot!

    I recently stumbled over the promo of this Indian animated feature film called 'Baru, the wonder kid'. Now, being a devoted Pixar junkie, I have always been averse to Indian animation. And the last few on the many Indian gods in their digital avatars did little to change my opinion.

    But why I even bother to pen this post is because a name popped up among the starring list that got me thinking. The name was Avika Gor (the lead child actor from the superhit TV show on child marriage, Balika Vadhu).

    Now, TV shows fall even lower in priority for me than Indian anime, even if it's the no#1 show on TV (which it was!). But this post isn't about Balika Vadhu or TV shows in general. I was just bemused at the career path that the 13-year old had opted for. But then when I tried to evaluate her options, I realised that there were very few.

    Child actors have historically been like puppets.  When on screen, their every emotion, expression and speech is defined by the director, while their

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  • "Maine pahli baar suna hain ki kissi ki maut kali mirch se bhi ho sakti hain!" (I've heard this for the first time that a person's death could be caused by black pepper). While I collect myself to make sense of this dialogue, my mind wavers into Korean films where innovative ways of causing death are portrayed. The one, who has just delivered it, seems pretty confident of the words that have stumbled out of his mouth. If you haven't figured it out yet, I am watching the television show CID.

    While the show, for its cult following, has had a good run on the idiot box (a good 13 years and still going!), it has re-defined science and the world as we know it, time and again. From Dr Salunkhe's (scientist on the show) mysterious chemicals that can diagnose everything about the dead body (including how often he partied to his other interests) to ASP Pradhyuman's bizarre conclusions based on the questionable evidence.

    Similarly, Bollywood has always treaded the fine line between reality and

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Pagination

(11 Stories)