Monday, January 11, 2010

Holmes Sweet Holmes

Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes does not seem to be the quintessential Sherlock you think you've grown up reading about. He doesn't wear his hat after all, appears most shabby in his upkeep and appearance, lacks hygiene, his home is like a junkyard, fights human bullfights, doesn't mind getting injured along the way and shares an uncanny relationship with his best friend and partner-in-crime (ofcourse solving, not the committing) Dr Watson and perhaps envies at the thought of losing his precious companionship without whom he cannot forsee a decent existence, to his fiance. 

But scratch the surface and you slowly realise that here's exactly the Sherlock Holmes you've read about. He is meticulous in his appoach, he has a great sense of humour, deciphers 20 clues on a crime scene before you can blink of your eye, precisely deduce from where his guest has come from, did what and where, down to the last 'T'. But there is still something extra that you see in Guy Ritchie's version of Sherlock Holmes. The way the story and the camera moves, you feel you're a part of the action. Ritchie also brilliantly gives us an insight into Holmes' mind before he goes about executing his opponents, meticulously breaking blow by blow the consequences before he delivers the final punch.  

Sherlock Holmes is an edge of the seat thriller that is not quite bound by a solid mystery. It is not a a great theft that is zeroed upon going through a massive pile of exciting clues and where you finally put the jigsaw puzzle, piece by piece, till you get the final picture that blows your mind away. This is not a murder mystery. Instead this is an action movie that follows the act of a devious mind, Lord Blackwood who gets arrested, convicted, put behind bars and finally hung only to resurrect once more and continue on his mission to take control of Britain, then America, followed by the rest of the world. Can Sherlock Holmes stop him or does the genius of Lord Blackwood succeed in mission terror? 

Despite the odd story, Sherlock Holmes is more of a action-packed dare-devil detective solving clues to get to his journey rather than the good old-fashioned Holmes solving what seems to be almost impossible murder; one that atleast used to provide fans such as me, the ultimate excitement. Yet, I found this Holmes to be a good watch. It's a taut 2-hour masala thriller. It is exciting and thrilling. Robert Downey Jr is absolutely fantastic as Sherlock Holmes, minus ofcourse his fake and put on british accent that sometimes sounds confused between American and British. Jude Law as Dr Watson also turns in a very good performance. There's chemistry between the two and together they light up the screen. Guy Ritchie recreates old century London very well- loved the several reminders of London bridge getting constructed- the pacing of the movie is fantastic, background score by Hans Zimmer brings alive the cinematic proceedings, there's hardly a dull moment here. 

K Rate: * * * * 

Sunday, January 10, 2010

3idiots: Good, not great

I found 3 idiots to be good, not great or phenomenal or anything spectacularly out of this world, as it's collections and all those gushing reviews and feedbacks I came across. I am okay with films that revolve around social message and when it's made in an entertaining way- one that challenges your conscience like, say, Rang De Basanti- it works. 3 idiots also took a social message- the mess our education system makes out of us, our over-ambitious parents and their expectations from us, competition that leads us to take extreme measures in some cases like suicides, making wrong choices, and so on- and tried to tell us in an entertaining way.

It's problem was that it tried too hard. It was like as if someone thought of a social message and then thought to make a movie out of it. Social message will touch the public's raw nerve and entertainment will make it easier for them to digest. Scene after scene, it threw at us its central message, almost every aspect of hostel life was thrown at us, every answer to every problem lay in engineering-curriculum-told-in-a-fun-way type, student suicides, ragging, hostel life and so on. Scenes like child birth on a T.T. table, Rancho's lecture baazi and preachings were just too much or too far-fetched and so was the one of the paralytic man sandwiched on a motorcycle. And also, all that ronaa-dhonaa. I don't think grown-up, hostel guys would cry at the drop of their hat. And what is up with all that peeing? I bet I have not seen so much peeing since 'East is East' many years ago.

Now for the good parts. The performances were awesome. The troika of Aamir, Madhavan and Sharman Joshi were fabulous and they fit their roles to the T. Aamir as usual was flawless. Boman Irani- though not in the same league as his Dr Asthana's role in Munnabhai- was great as the lisping professor. Loved the balatkar speech, Omi Vaidya's (Chatur / Silencer) narration was flawless and so was Boman Irani's reaction of complete helplessness and volcanic frustration, as also Omi's overall performance. Omi's comic timing was perfect and kudos to the casting team of 3 idiots for this great find.

All said and done, the message of 3 idiots was good. And please, it does NOT inspire ragging or suicides. But it does tell us that we need to follow our heart and passion and not the smell of crisp currency when it comes to pursue our ambition. Because if you like what you do, success will automatically follow.

K-Rate: * * * * 

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Awesome Avatar

It's been done to death with, every second person has seen, we all know what it is about, so I am just going to cut the crap and say it. I loved Avatar and it's simply breathtaking. Director, James Cameron, creates a world beyond our imagination and one that is far beyond anyone can ever expect to see. Floating mountains, dragons, flora and fauna we would never see in our dreams and much more. The move is a bit long at three hours and drags a bit in the middle, but for most parts, it's a journey you're not likely to see in a long, long time. Don't miss the beginning though, if you want to understand what the movie is all about. Hollywood special effects has just risen several notches from what we have come to know in the past few years. Fasten your seat belts.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

New Year Musings...2010

After having gone through realms and realms of what went by in 2009, the 'best and worst of 2009' in every newspaper or magazine that you open and seeing the same images, new and events that went by and whats-the-phrase..."shaped up 2009"...we're finally in the new year. This was incidentally the first Christmas, new year's eve and new year day of my nine years of professional life that I have had to report to work and work till late. There was no such thing as a year-end holiday for me this time around, let alone planning for one and then being in a limbo. The firm that I work for now does not have year-end holidays. Yet, for some strange reason, I am not cribbing. As long as we have work, we're good. Holidays can always come at a later stage, when they're well earned.

As far as 2010 is concerned, I would like to see my beloved Mumbai get some better infrastructure. This is ofcourse a wishlist and i don't expect things to move at blazing speeds this side of the world, but here's what I want to see...
  • A new airport on the outskirts of Mumbai 
  • An airport express train that connects some key city and suburban hubs (with a city check-in) at places preferably like Nariman Point, Breach Candy, Dadar, Bandra, Ghatkopar, Thane, Andheri, Borivali, Panvel and then straight to the airport. Just the way it is in Hong Kong and soon-to-be in New Delhi. You check in your lugguage at any of these city check-in counters at any time of the day and get rid of your lugguage, then roam around the city or do whatever you want, then finally catch the airport express train in evening or night, reach the airport, show your boarding pass and board the aircraft, that's it. 
  • The trans-harbour link that eases the connectivity between the island city with the mainland
  • Fasttrack the metro projects. And please, the world-over, metro means underground, not overground. 
  • Upgrade our zoo and aquarium to international standards. We Indians have not yet developed a culture of taking care of our animals and wildlife, poaching still goes on a mass scale, neighbours lock up their pets and go off to work, schools and colleges leaving their poor pets to cry the whole day in loneliness....we need to start taking care of our wildlife.
  • I don't think road widening is possible. Can we think of alternatives please? I was stunned to see miles and miles of roads built underground in Washington D.C. last year, that runs beneath tall buildings and crowded areas. Of course, you need government will to do all that! 
  • I want to see citizens respect our cities and surroundings. It's fashionable to blame the governments for everything wrong that happens in our society, but don't we citizens have any responsibility? First class local train passengers put their feet up on seats and squat. Brand new local trains that Mumbai got recently are all RED, hell...elevators are RED. Railway stations, roads, even elevators are not spared.
  • Do I really care how many points people earn in Farmville on Facebook? WTF....
  • ...but Twitter sounds exciting. I might become a twitteratti in 2010. 
  • Last, but not the least, I want to click more pictures. 

A zillion other things possible, but I have to go for my breakfast now.....More later....

Meher Mahino, Ava Mahino and Adar Mahino: The holy trinity of Zoroastrian calender

Zoroastrians- or better knows as Parsis and Iranis of India- have a separate calendar. We look at the English calendar of course, but we al...