JIO MAMI – Day 1 and Day 2 (Cinema at it’s best)

JIO MAMI – Day 1 and Day 2.

written by Souranath Banerjee

JIO MAMI 17th Mumbai Film Festival, 200 films from over 35 countries – it’s happening right now, right here and it’s a heaven for film lovers.

Registrations and Bookings at in.bookmyshow.com

A brief description of the superb cinemas i have watched in the first two days of the festival, detailed review coming up soon.

 

Day 1 (30th OCT)

Youth (2015), my first film in MAMI and it’s an absolute work of brilliance.

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-T7CM4di_0c

youth-posterDirected by genius Paolo Sorrentino, the film is already competing for the prestigious Palme d’Or award at the Cannes Film Festival.

A film that makes the old become nostalgic of ‘youth’, a film about friendships and relationships, it’s about remembering them, respecting them and appreciating them.

Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel suits their roles so well and has such a great chemistry. Paul DanoJane Fonda and Rachel Weisz at their best.

Roly Serrano playing the part of Diego Maradona and also, you can’t miss the super hot Madalina Diana Ghenea as the Miss Universe.

 

Sunset Song (2015) was the second film of the day and it was such a contrast to the first one!

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9MYnCDEAfiE

Though i must confess that this film was not my first choice for the Sunset-Song-posterafternoon, but since The Lobster show got cancelled/rescheduled I decided on this one.

And i won’t particularly say i regret my decision.

Directed by Terence Davies, it is a story of a girl (Agyness Deyn), the daughter of a farmer who wants to live her life to it’s fullest.

Though she makes a few tough choices and become successful in turning her life better, but the people and their circumstances keep changing and it’s a hard task to keep up with it.

Set in the early 1900, (before the WW1) in the vastness of the Scottish landscape, the film has brilliant sets and perfect costumes. And awesome camera work by Michael McDonough, most of the frames look like classical paintings of the era.

 

And the third one is one outstanding film Mountains May Depart (2015).

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YzkKT2wzCXk

Mountains-may-depart-posterDirected by legendary Chinese director Zhangke Jia, a film also competing for the prestigious Palme d’Or award at the Cannes Film Festival.

Three primary characters and how their lives changes in three different time periods: 1999, 2014, and 2025.

The story has such powerful emotions flowing through the different time-periods, through the ages of time. And each character is unique in it’s own way.

Tao ZhaoYi ZhangJing Dong Liang and Zijian Dong – outstanding performance by all of them.

 

Day 2 (31st OCT)

Was ready to watch acclaimed director Amit Dutta‘s film Aadmi Ki Aurat Aur Anya Kahaniya (2009) but due to some problem with the nainsukh-posterprint Nainsukh (2010) was shown instead. Another film by the same director and it’s such a beautiful film!

A biography of an 18th-century master painter named Nainsukh from Himachal Pradesh.

The film is a visual treat, detailed to perfection. Hardly a few words spoken throughout the film but the impact of it is profound.

The film has been screened and appreciated in many festivals around the world including the 67th Venice film festival and regarded as a masterpiece of Indian modernism.

 

The second of the day was Placebo (2014), an intense hybrid of docu-drama, animation and fantasy!

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SrdLPrZzjh8

placebo-poster

India’s toughest grad school, extreme academic pressure, vulnerable young minds and a tendency of self inflicted violence!

Director Abhay Kumar explores the mind space of the restless youth, their dreams, their expressions, their frustrations, and their madness.

A documentary that has managed to focus on a lot of unsaid and often ignored matters that actually affect the lives of our next generation. A very unique film and also probably the most important cinema in the festival.

 

And finally, the third one, the last but not the least of the day, a film called Krisha (2015).

Actually planned to watch Guy Maddin‘s The Forbidden Room, since i loved one of his earlier film My Winnipeg but somehow his latest work couldn’t hold my attention for long. It may be a great film but not my kind of film.

So, along with my new friend Zeena (who was also leaving the hall), krisha-posterwe went next door to watch Krisha, a film written and directed by Trey Edward Shults.

A Thanksgiving dinner party threatened to be ruined when Krisha (who is in her 60s) decides to join her beloved family members after a time gap of 10 years.

And it turned out to be a superbly dramatic film, and what a great performance by Krisha Fairchild!

The tapping music along with quick camera movements and very realistic acting makes this film a great watch.

 

My second day of MAMI ends with this film. Eagerly waiting for the next few days of uninterrupted cinema. Bring it on.

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.comwww.recentmovieposters.comwww.imdb.commrinaldesai.com.

JIO MAMI – an Introduction

JIO MAMI – an introduction.

written by Souranath Banerjee

MAMI-poster“We feel it is the need of the hour to disseminate and inculcate good cinema among Indian audiences” (-1997).

The above quote is a part of the Mission Statement from the Mumbai Academy of Moving Image (MAMI) Board of Trustees; a public trust established in 1997, by a group of film industry stalwarts spearheaded by master director Hrishikesh Mukherjee.

And indeed, MAMI has kept it’s promise.

MAMI-pic2Ever since it’s foundation, the non-profit seeking organization has been successful in bringing us the best of both Indian and World cinema every single year.

This year 2015, filmmaker Kiran Rao, the current chairperson of this prestigious trust, along with Festival Director Anupama Chopra and Creative Director Smriti Kiran has presented us with the 17th edition of the traditional Mumbai film festival.

A few other trustees, all well known figures of Indian Film Industry, the likes of Farhan Akhtar, Deepika Padukone, Karan Johar, Siddhartha Roy Kapur, Vishal Bhardwaj, Dibakar Banerjee, Zoya Akhtar, Vikramaditya Motwane, Riteish Deshmukh and others.

MAMI-pic1And of course, thanks to Co-Chairperson Nita M.Ambani and Uday Shankar, the CEO of Star India for making 29 October to 5th November 2015 (the festival dates) a blessing for all film lovers in Mumbai.

5 venues chosen that includes PVR Juhu, PVR ECX Andheri, PVR Phoenix Lower Parel, PVR Ghatkopar and Regal Cinemas.

Three sections of competition as in ‘International’, ‘India Gold’ and
‘Dimensions Mumbai’; while some other film-categories comprise of ‘World Cinema’, ‘India Story’, ‘MAMI tribute’, ‘Discovering Cinema’, ‘Restored classics’, ‘Half ticket’ and such.

MAMI-pic4A total of over 200 films from over 35 countries, and on top of that special workshops and interactive sessions taken by renowned film-makers the likes of Girish Kasaravalli, Adoor GopalakrishnanSujoy Ghosh and Rajkumar Hirani.

As Kiran Rao mentioned ‘a world of images and coversations that could inspire and provoke’ – a complete package of cinematic experience that you simply cannot afford to miss.

Hope to meet you all film lovers at the JIO MAMI 17th Mumbai Film Festival, do enjoy the lovely days of uninterrupted Cinema.

MAMI-art-posterLink for the film schedule at www.mumbaifilmfestival.com.

And by chance if you still haven’t registered then please do it now.

Registrations and Bookings at in.bookmyshow.com

Dil Chahta Hai – the film that redefined friendship

Dil Chahta Hai – the film that redefined friendship.

written by Souranath Banerjee

Bollywood since it’s early days, has always been an expert in portraying ‘romanticism’ on celluloid, the classic ‘love story’, a specialty that has been experimented and mastered through years of relentless practice.

But then, when it comes to ‘friendship’ being the primary focus of a film, they would first try to convince you with either ‘love-triangles’ Dil-Chahta-Hai-posteror ‘brothers-separated-in-their-childhood-but-later-united-to-avenge’ kinda concepts!

If not, then you will have to choose from films like Chashme Buddoor (1981), Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro (1983) or Andaz Apna Apna (1994) which somehow aren’t primarily made to celebrate ‘friendship’.

And when you are still not convinced, the memorable song ‘yeh dosti hum nehi todenge’ would be played ceremoniously from our favorite film Sholay and the topic of ‘friends and friendship’ will be closed then and there.

Well, that was the situation before 2001.

In the year 2001, a film Dil Chahta Hai was made and it not only won the National Award for that year but also redefined the concept of friendship in Indian Cinema forever.

Super-talented writer/director Farhan Akhtar‘s first film, who later turned out to be a brilliant actor, producer and singer as well!

Film trailer for a quick recap.

The film Dil Chahta Hai, a comedy-drama, is based on three friends whose friendship is tested as they go through a period of transition in their lives. From the enjoyable, carefree college days to accepting responsibility and trying to deal with their jobs and relationships with their recently-earned maturity.

The film was so unique not only as a young and fresh concept, but also for it’s innovative overall treatment.

The leads characters – Akash (Aamir Khan), Sid (Akshaye Khanna) and Sameer (Saif Ali Khan); they as individuals and also their superb chemistry in-between themselves were undoubtedly the life of the film.

Three friends, a sudden plan, and a long drive to Goa; since Dil Chahta Hai, such road-trips have become a trend for the youth of India!

And then of course, their three love affairs – Shalini (Preity Zinta), Tara (Dimple Kapadia) and Pooja (Sonali Kulkarni), who creates enough drama in their lives but also in a way completes them.

A trend-setter in many ways, the film revived Saif Ali Khan and Akshay Khanna’s career, helped Dimple Kapadia to re-establish herself as a powerful actress, made composer trio Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy as famous as they should be, and most importantly opened the gates for innumerable friendship-oriented films to be made.

Jhankaar Beats (2003)Rang De Basanti (2006), Rock On!! (2008), 3 Idiots (2009), Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011), Delhi Belly (2011), Kai po che! (2013) and even Go Goa Gone (2013) and Grand Masti (2013) and many other Bollywood films that kept on exploring (mostly exploiting) ‘friendship’ with the same ‘three friends bonding’ formula.

Dil-Chahta-Hai-posterDil Chahta Hai, when it released was a decent commercial success, specially among the urban younger generation (i believe the film’s primary target audience).

And the critics applauded its sensitivity too.

The film Dil Chahta Hai though coated with enough comedy, is actually a pretty matured film that sheds a very realistic perspective on growing up and being capable of respecting other’s sentiments.

But the best part of the film is neither the story, or the brilliant performances nor the complete set of catchy songs; it’s actually the little funny situations here and there and the perfectly timed dialogues to complement them!

Hum cake khane ke liye kahin bhi jaa sakte hai

Aaj Pooja, kal koi dooja

Ya toh dosti gehri hai … ya yeh photo 3D hai

Perfection ko improve karna mushkil hota hai

These and many more such hilarious dialogues are the first things that come to our mind when we think of Dil Chahta Hai, and they only make the film such fun to watch every single time.

If somebody, new to Bollywood, would ask me to recommend one single film that he/she needs to watch – I would definitely suggest Dil Chahta Hai. Bollywood at its best!

Poster courtesy: www.imdb.comwww.india-forums.comwww.filmycurry.com.

Crimson Peak (2015)

Crimson Peak review.

written by Souranath Banerjee

‘Where I come from, ghosts are not to be taken lightly’.

My Ratings 3.8/5.

Guillermo del Toro is a name that brings hope for all the fans of the horror genre, the Mexican director who is responsible for many superb horror flicks such as Pan’s Labyrinth, The Devil’s Backbone and Cronos.

crimson-peak-posterHis unique ability to create worlds where ghosts and spirits become a part of life; they insists to exist beyond your consciousness, and then you see them, there happens a mutual acknowledgment of each other’s presence and you are terrified!

Del Toro’s recent achievement Crimson Peak is again a perfect blend of fear and deception, hatred and revenge, and horror of course.

A young girl (Mia Wasikowska) is wooed by a handsome stranger (Tom Hiddleston) and in spite of the girl’s father’s disapproval – they did eventually get married.

The innocent girl is taken away to her husband’s place, an old and haunted ancestral palace situated at the Crimson Peak, where the red mud below the white layer of ice looks as if the ground is bleeding from a permanent, incurable wound!

crimson-peak-poster1And then, there is the husband’s sister (Jessica Chastain) who is as cold as the ice above and as sinister as the red mud beneath it.

The rotten house, gloomy and broken in parts has many secrets wrapped inside and when it breathes loud, be sure that it wants to share it’s horrific past with the newly married girl, it wants to make contact with her; frighten her or may be to warn her of some upcoming danger!

The first thing that impresses you while watching the film is the brilliance of the sets and the exceptionally detailed costumes of the characters. Set decoraters Jeffrey A. Melvin and Shane Vieau, art director Brandt Gordon and costume designer Kate Hawley are the ones who deserves to be mentioned first.

crimson-peak-poster5The acting is decent enough to create a sense of danger throughout the film.

Dan Laustsen‘s cinematography makes the film a visual treat and the visual effects is pretty well synced to serve it’s desired purpose.

Though i would say the ghosts and ghouls are sprinkled throughout the film a bit too abundantly; i personally would have expected more moments of suspense than directly looking a CGI ghost with Del Toro’s patented liquidizing effect making faces at me.

But never the less, the film (most of it) is scary and entertaining, with a twist in the end that was though somewhat predictable.

Crimson Peak, a horror film with insects, wall clocks and a Gothic touch. Watch it and you won’t regret, specially if you don’t go without much expectations to be scared.

P.S – Benedict Cumberbatch and Emma Stone were initially casted along with Jessica Chastain.

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.com

An Actor – Farooq Sheikh

Writing about Farooq Sheikh has been the toughest. Despite being, one of the greats Hindi Cinema has produced, there is so little to read about him, either in books or even on the internet. All that you know about this gifted actor is through his films and the characters which he played. Farooq Sheikh was one of the pioneer actors in the New Indian Cinema along with Naseeruddin Shah and Om Puri. Yet he was not them.Farooq was one actor who had always underplayed himself. When he was asked once, that what he thinks of himself as an actor, he replied saying that he is a very lazy actor who hasn’t achieved much but is happy for what he has achieved. His brutal honesty towards himself is what people loved in him. He never ever got ambitious in his life.

Farooq was labelled as an actor who never had any commercial viability. But he had no regrets accepting this tag. In an interview, he had even accepted his failure at being ‘not so famous’, and still be proud of what he was. He had told, “I have never been commercially viable: People recognise me, smile and wave at me — but I have never received marriage proposals written in blood. In his heydeys, when Rajesh Khanna drove down a street, the traffic stopped — I don’t mind not receiving this kind of adulation. But I do miss not having been able to command the kind of work I wanted. I miss not being 100 per cent commercially viable.

He was a gem in the art film corridors of our industry. Yet, he was different in the way other actors of the same genre went about themselves. Farooq didn’t do an ‘ArdhSatya’ or an ‘Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyo Aata hai’, yet he was present with his own finesse and style in films like ‘Chashme Buddoor, Kissi Se Na Kehna’.

Farooq Sheikh_Chasme Buddoor_Ravi Baswani_Rakesh Bedi_Bollywoodirect

Farooq Sheikh in Garam Hawa_Balraj Sahni_M S Sathyu_Bollywoodirect

Those who adore Farooq, are normally the ones who have seen ‘Chashme Badoor’. His absence from the film scene in the 90s almost made him forgotten for once and all. Television and theatre had then kept Farooq going. His, first love, was theatre. IPTA came as a breath of fresh air in his life after his short stint as a lawyer began to frustrate him. His acting prowess was seen at IPTA and then came the big break with M.S. Sathyu’s Garam Hawa for which he did not take a single penny.

Ironically,  ‘Garam Hawa’ proved to be the cool breeze every young actor needs at the start of his or career. What followed was something that even Farooq had not expected of himself. Satyajit Ray offered him to play Aqeel in ‘Shatranj Ke Khiladi’. This was not one of the best Satyajit Ray had filmed, as per the critics but this film definitely fulfilled Farooq’s dream to work with the legend Satyajit Ray himself.

Rekha_Farooq Sheikh in Umrao Jaan_Bollywoodirect

Farooq was a brave actor back then; he would choose movies no other actor would dare to say yes to. A case in point is ‘Umrao Jaan’. This film was all about Rekha and in those times when male-dominated films existed, I am sure it was a tough call as a male actor to do Nawab Sultan. Even the poster of the film had Rekha all over it.

With ‘Noorie’, he announced that he could deliver single-handedly. ‘Noorie’ went on to become the seventh highest-grossing film that year. For someone like Farooq, this would be a straight jacket entry into mainstream cinema as ‘Noorie’ was a Yash Chopra film. But he never let anyone categorised him. He did whatever came his way and this is why we see such diversified roles done by him in such a short period of time. If in ‘Katha’, he was the ‘Hare’ who liked chatting a lot and boasting about himself to woo people then in ‘Sath-Sath’, he played a stern man who could not sacrifice his principles. Then, in Bazaar, he was entirely in a  different story. This versatility in him created an image for himself in the industry. Farooq Sheikh could do a ‘Siddharth’ in Chasme Buddoor with the same ease he did ‘Basu’ in Katha. All these films became classics with time. and Farooq had a major role to play in making them one.

But despite these great performances, what he got were just appreciations in the form of good reviews and the tag of ‘good actor’. It was, finally, in the year 2010 that we saw him getting the National award for the best actor in a supporting role for ‘Lahore’ – a film that won several accolades around the globe. This recognition came much later to Farooq who deserved more than what he got. But as he was Farooq  Sheikh, these things – awards and recognition- never mattered to him.

I have written how he wasn’t an ambitious man. It was for this reason that he did even the smaller roles with the same excitement and vigour. Despite him being lost from the film scene in the 90s, he had no ego whatsoever to do serials like ‘Chamatkaar’ and ‘Ji Mantri Ji’.

And who can forget ‘Jeena Isi Ka Naam Hai’, one of the best show Indian Television has produced and undoubtedly, the main reason for the show to get engraved in our memories was Farooq Sheikh. He wasn’t very glamorous and fizzy in the way he anchored. He was simple, genuine, calm in the way he handled the guests at his show. In two simple words, he was just Farooq Sheikh. Clad in Kurta and Pyjama, a dress he wore the most in his last 15 years of life, Farooq made sure there was no boredom in the show.

farooq sheikh_Deepti Naval_Bollywoodirect

It is not correct to say that he wasn’t an aware star. Those who knew him on- screen, they loved him. And those who know him off-screen, they adored him for being a person that he was. Deepti Naval remembers him as a man who was part of her career. She acted with him in as many as nine films. For her, he was a constant part of her professional as well as personal lives.

After his funeral procession was over, teary-eyed Shabana Azmi came out and said, “There will be no ‘Tumhari Amrita’ Without Farooq. The curtains have fallen.” ‘Tumhari Amrita’ was one play which both of these greats had been performing for the last twenty years till 2013. In early December of 2013, Shabana and Farooq had performed the play in Agra and after the completion of play, Shabana had told him, “Let it be our last play, Farooq. I believe this should be the end of ‘Tumhari Amrita’ to which he resisted, “Why! I think we should do this role for another 20 years to come!” After two weeks or so, Farooq Sheikh left the world leaving everyone shocked.

Written By: Shubham Pandey 

Caution: The opinion expressed in this article are the personal opinion of the author. Cinemaforensic/Bollywoodirect is not responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability or validity of any information in this article. The information/Opinion, facts appearing in it do not reflect the views of Bollywoodirect & Bollywoodirect doesn’t assume any responsibility or liability of the same.

Featured article from Bollywoodirect.

Best Biopics on Musicians (10+1list)

Best Biopics On Musicians

written by Souranath Banerjee

While watching the recent biopic Love & Mercy (2014) based on
Beach Boys lead singer Brian Wilson’s life (starring John Cusack,
love-and-mercy-posterElizabeth BanksPaul Dano and Paul Giamatti), I had this observation that the more famous the artist, the more is the chance for them to be vulnerable and gullible in their personal life.

The extremely talented Musicians who are superstars on the stage, with all the money and fame in the world but in their real life, most of them are so alone and disturbed and emotionally unstable.

Either their family lives are torn apart as a direct side-effect of fame (too much of drugs, sex and ego) or else they are being bullied, cheated, harassed or exploited by none other than their close friends and relatives.

These films in the list are some of the Best Biopics on Musicians across the world, the lives of the crazy and the genius.

Let the music flow!

10. Amadeus (1984)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yIzhAKtEzY0

amadeus-poster1‘I am a vulgar man but i assure you my music is not’ – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Directed by Milos Forman, an epic biopic made on the life of arguably the best composer ever existed. 

Mozart, Music and Murder -a colorful masterpiece, nominated for 11 Oscars and won eight of them, including best picture, actor and director!

9. The Doors (1991)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rU0tR0EjAXA

doors-posterJim Morrison, the God of Rock – the story of his eccentric life; the madness and the genius.

Starring Val Kilmer and Meg Ryan, the film perfectly captures the energy, the style and the vibrant personality of the ‘Electric Poet’. 

Directed by brilliant Oliver Stone, a visual treat and for me, in the rock n’ roll genre this is the best biopic ever made. Watch it.

8. I’m Not There. (2007)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFUEofAr9GA

im-not-there-poster1

Christian BaleCate BlanchettHeath LedgerRichard GereBen Whishaw and Marcus Carl Franklin – six actors, six characters, one life, one artist – Bob Dylan!

Soaked in Dylan’s soulful music, it is made in a non-linear and avant garde fashion, a complete original take by director Todd Haynes

Challenging but certainly not mainstream. 

7. Walk the Line (2005)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GsvZGwd8vrI

walk-the-line-posterDirected by James Mangold, this one is a biopic on country music legend Johnny Cash’s life.

His fame and family, his love and addiction, his depression and his will to survive; his ultimate success.

Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon both were Oscar nominated for their outstanding performances and Reese finally won the award.

6. Coal Miner’s Daughter (1980)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pivm4oMEDRs

coal-miners-daughter-posterThe legendary singer Loretta Lynn and how she changed the rhythm and style of country-music forever.  

From poverty to worldwide fame, her life  and her musical career is a story to be told. Starring Sissy Spacek (oscar winning role)Tommy Lee Jones and Levon Helm.

Directed by Michael Apted, this biography deserves much more attention than it received.

5. Nowhere Boy (2009)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I0Qu62_vPbo

Nowhere-boy-posterDirected by Sam Taylor-Johnson, this biopic focuses on the early life of musical sensation John Lennon.

Lennon’s relationship with his aunt Mimi and his mother Julia, his love for music and how he met his friends Paul McCartney and George Harrison!

Experience the evolution of the revolution, the man behind the most popular band ever – The Beatles.

4. Ray (2004)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jVHCQfcugdw

ray-poster1Directed by Taylor Hackford, this one tells the story of Ray Charles, the legendary rhythm and blues musician of the 60s.

At the age of seven he lost his eyesight but still with his gifted voice and compositions, and his brilliance in playing the piano he became one of the most successful musicians of the time.

Jamie Foxx won Oscar for his role.

3. Control (2007)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7c2_B_cWK_M

control-posterA biography of the famous lead singer of the band Joy Division – Ian Curtis.

Directed by Anton Corbijnthe film depicts the troubled life of the musical genius which ended at the young age of 23 (he committed suicide).

The film is a simple yet stylized series of black and white visuals shot brilliantly by Martin Ruhe.

2. What’s Love Got to Do with It (1993)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nbzbd2wUGao

whats-love-got-to-do-with-it-posterIt’s a biopic on Tina Turner’s courageous life, both stage and personal.

The way she shot to stardom and became famous, the tough years when she was traumatized by her abusive husband Ike Turner and finally how she managed to break free.

Directed by Brian Gibson, a film that every woman should see and take inspiration from.

  1. Shine (1996)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTt4Ar6pzO4

shine-posterPiano player David Helfgott, a child prodigy who had a breakdown early in his life but later came back and became popular. 

Directed by Scott Hicks, a film that is so intense and yet so satisfying, so true to the life of the artist.  

The prime reason to watch this biopic is for Geoffrey Rush‘s brilliant performance for which he won the Oscar that year!

and now, (The ‘+1′ film is not necessarily the best but certainly the most innovative one. A must watch).

+1. La Vie en Rose (2007)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uzEJ7NV_g98

vie-en-rose-posterA superb biopic on Édith Piaf‘s life, the famous French singer.

With the ever-beautiful Marion Cotillard in the lead, the film takes us into a nonlinear journey of the vulnerable yet talented singer’s childhood, then her rise to fame and the various ups and downs of her life. 

Directed by Olivier Dahan, a great work of passion and emotion.

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.comwww.festivalinla.com.

Bridge of Spies (2015)

Bridge of Spies review.

written by Souranath Banerjee

My Ratings: 3.8/5.

It’s definitely a good Spielberg film but certainly not one of his best.

2015 must have been a difficult year for all the espionage agencies because no matter how hard the spies try to hide, their covers are repeatedly been blown in the numerous spy-films made on them.

From the Kingsmen to 007, Tom Cruise to U.N.C.L.E – this year Hollywood has been obsessed with Spy movies. And now Steven Spielberg decides to join the party.

After a gap of 10 years actor Tom Hanks and director Steven bridge-of-spies-poster2Spielberg join hands, this being their fourth collaboration (previous ones being Saving Private Ryan, Catch Me If You Can and The Terminal); and this time they come up with a historical spy-thriller (based on true events) called Bridge of Spies.

The film is set in 1960, when the Cold War was at it’s peak.

Bridge of Spies is actually a biopic on American insurance-attorney James B. Donovan (Tom Hanks) who agreed to risk his reputation and his safety (as well as his family’s), in order to serve his country in the most righteous manner possible.

Firstly, he had to defend a captured Soviet spy Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance) in the American court of justice and then, he was recruited by the CIA and sent to the-then hostile Germany (Berlin being partitioned) to negotiate a spy-exchange mission between the two rival countries – America and Russia.

Rudolf Abel being the Russian spy who was exchanged with Francis Gary Powers (Austin Stowell), the American pilot whose aircraft was shot down over the Soviet borders (the U-2 incident).

Now, Bridge of Spies not only successfully depicts the moral obligation of Donovan’s character and his constant quest for justice
bridge-of-spies-poster1but the film also manages to create the tension of that particular era,
the desperate attempt of the two super powers trying to topple each other by any means possible.

But then, don’t expect too much dramatization of events.

Bridge of Spies faithfully clings to the pages of history, not much of a suspense element created anywhere in the movie, pretty much gives away the basic story line from the start and also it’s more of a dialogue based spy film.

Written by Matt Charman and the famous Coen brothers ( Ethan Coen and Joel Coen), and with Spielberg’s direction and some brilliant performances, the film surely deserves attention.

If you like authentic historical espionage cinema more than the thrilling fast-paced fictional spy films – this one is tailor made for you.

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.com

Babar Naam Gandhiji (2015)

Babar Naam Gandhiji review.

written by Souranath Banerjee

My Ratings: 4.2/5

The priority in cinema has always been given to fresh and innovative scripts; stories that have the rare capability of alienating us from the harsh world around and make us connect to our long-buried innocence, to humanity.

Babar-Naam-Gandhiji-poster3And the recently released Bengali film Babar Naam Gandhiji does exactly that and much more.

The film takes the social issue of ‘children’s right to education’ head-on and moulds it into a very entertaining film.

The basic story revolves around a group of orphan kids who beg, borrow and bargain in the streets of Kolkata, apparently no different from any other cities in India.

But then there IS a difference.

The leader of these orphan street kids, Kecho (Surajit Mukherjee) have taken the art of street begging to a different level altogether. He doesn’t beg but demand money and is smart enough to live life in his own happy-go-lucky style!

Babar-Naam-Gandhiji-posterBut then one day, Kencho stumbles onto this information that Gandhi Ji (Mahatma Gandhi, the bapu of our nation) is actually his own bapu (father)!

A fictitious tale of course, told with the intention to encourage the young kid to be more socially responsible. And it works well, since with the help of his beloved NGO da/Pavel (Parambrata Chatterjee), Kecho decides to enroll into a reputed school.

Babar-Naam-Gandhiji-poster5But then, the problem arises when a strict teacher from that same school Bidyadhar Swami (Koushik Sen) makes his life’s mission to stop Kencho, a street kid from entering their so-called prestigious institution.

Wonderful performances by everyone but the young actor Surajit Mukherjee needs a special mention. His confident dialogue deliveries, his body language and his innocent smile attracts the spotlight.

The real beauty of the film Babar Naam Gandhiji lies in it’s unique script. Babar-Naam-Gandhiji-poster6Written and directed by young debutant director Pavel who has the maturity and the ability to compete with any established directors working today in the industry. 

Decent camera work by Supriyo Dutta and crisp editing by Sanglap Bhowmik, also perfectly complemented by Raja Narayan Deb‘s music.

Overall Babar Naam Gandhiji is a story that is very much needed to be told in our current society, and it is told in great style.

Don’t you miss this one.

Best Court room drama films (10+1list)

Best Court room drama films.

written by Souranath Banerjee

Back in 1928 director Carl Theodor Dreyer made an epic film The Passion of Joan of Arc and although the movie was unique in many other aspects but it was also probably the first ever cinema to showcase the dramatization inside a court room.

And since then, there has been several brilliant contributions made to the ‘courtroom drama’ genre.

The Judge, the jury, the lawyer, the accused and the witnesses. Guilty or Not guilty?

Sometimes the primary focus is on the lawyer’s intellect and determination while other films deal more with the accused or the suspense of the final verdict. 

The list below consists of some of the best Courtroom drama films ever made.

So, Order! Order!

10. 12 Angry Men (1957)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7CBKT0PWFA

12-angry-men-posterWhen you say ‘courtroom drama’, the first film that comes to your mind is this one, and why not?

An epic film directed by Sidney Lumet featuring a murder trail where 12 jury members have to come to a decision unanimously.

Almost shot inside a single room, 12 characters and their unique approach to the case. Henry Fonda‘s best role.

Another brilliant film by the same director on this genre is The Verdict (1982). A must watch.

9. The Paradine Case (1947)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGt4VvcSfjU

pardine-case-posterNot one of his best suspense thrillers, but nevertheless Alfred Hitchcock‘s contribution to the courtroom drama genre.

A lawyer risks his own marriage and reputation as he falls for the beautiful female client accused of murdering her own husband!

Gregory PeckAnn ToddCharles Laughton and Oscar nominated Ethel Barrymore all at their best.

8. Witness for the Prosecution (1957)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KsVN1hv9D5c

witness-prosecution-posterThis time it’s director Billy Wilder who joins the courtroom drama.

Brilliant performances by Tyrone PowerMarlene DietrichCharles Laughton

The film’s suspense is so vital that the audience before entering the hall had to sign, cards that read, ‘I solemnly swear I will not reveal the ending of Witness for the Prosecution.’! 

7. Primal Fear (1996)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PnmTi7hSjrA

primal-fear-posterA priest murdered and an alter boy is accused for killing him. But the real truth is not what it seems to be.

Directed by Gregory Hoblit, this one is a superb drama with some pretty unexpected twists.

Richard Gere and Laura Linney give awesome performances but the one to look for in the film is Edward Norton, a star was born.

Another cool film by the same director on this genre is Fracture (2007). A good watch.

6. Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RfOgZXIQ6fo

Judgment-Nuremberg-posterFour Nazi judges are to be judged for their war crimes, but before the cold-war people are willing to forget the past very easily.

Director Stanley Kramer creates this terrific American courtroom in occupied Germany of 1948 and tells the intense tale of judgement. 

Probably the film of most historical significance in this list.

Another awesome film by the same director on this genre is Inherit the Wind (1960)

5. Anatomy of a Murder (1959)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IAVLvGP25uQ

Anatomy-Murder-posterCan temporary insanity be the reason for committing murder?

My favorite actor James Stewart gives a great performance along with Lee Remick and Ben Gazzara.

Directed by Otto Preminger, there was controversy because the film uses words like ‘bitch’, ‘contraceptive’, ‘panties’, ‘penetration’, ‘rape, ‘slut’ and ‘sperm’ for the first time on screen!

4. Philadelphia (1993)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cl4B9AU45P4

philadelphia-posterTom HanksDenzel WashingtonRoberta Maxwell all together in this superb drama.

A lawyer takes the case of a man who press charges on his employee on the ground that he was fired just because he had AIDS.

Directed by Jonathan Demme, this is one remarkable film based on a true incident.

3. …And Justice for All. (1979)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQzYNoLANrg

And-Justice-All-poster‘You’re out of order! The whole trial is out of order! They’re out of order!’

One of Al Pacino‘s classics, a film that is intense and indeed makes you doubt the true meaning of justice.

A lawyer is forced to defend a judge who seems to be guilty.

Directed by Norman Jewison, one of the best court drama ever made. 

2. The Lincoln Lawyer (2011)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IFwE3UgCMIk

Lincoln-Lawyer-posterA wealthy client, a talented defense lawyer with a conscience and then there is a full proof plan to beat the system!

Matthew McConaughey at his best as usual along with Marisa Tomei and Ryan Phillippe.

Directed by Brad Furman this one is one of the best court dramas of recent times.

  1. A Few Good Men (1992)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ePo91pMcu94

few-good-men-posterDirected by master director Rob Reiner, this film has one thrilling court drama.

A Navy lawyer determined to defend two Marines who have been accused of murdering a colleague. But things doesn’t look as simple as they are.

Great performances by Tom CruiseJack NicholsonDemi MooreKevin Bacon – you can’t miss this one.

and (The ‘+1′ film is not necessarily the best but certainly the most unique one. A must watch).

+1. OMG: Oh My God! (2012)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8nUwpoTrWFk

OMG-Oh-My-God-PosterAn earthquake destroys an atheist shopkeeper’s shop and so he takes God to the courtroom.

Directed by Umesh Shukla, a film that is so innovative and probably the only film that so aptly deals with commercialization of religion in our current social scenario.

Akshay KumarParesh Rawal and Mithun Chakraborty – couldn’t have been better on the performance basis. 

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.comhttp://www.koimoi.com and www.bollywoodmdb.com.

The Walk (2015)

The Walk review

written by Souranath Banerjee

My Ratings: 4.2/5

Viewers who have vertigo will want a refund for their tickets!

How must it feel to be on the top of the world (literally); high above the sky so high with the wind and the silence as your only companions, the power of determination, the beauty of an incredible imagination becoming reality, and finally a few moments of Zen?

There is only one man who has the answer to the above question – Mr. Philippe Petit.

philippe-petit-posterIn his stunning book ‘To reach the clouds’ (originally published in 2002) Philippe Petit describes his daring experience as a tightrope walker who made eight crossings within one hour between the Twin towers of America (World Trade Center) on 7th August 1974.

That day, more than 100,000 people watched this incredible feat of unimaginable audacity as French street-performer Philippe Petit’s childhood dream comes true!

In his own words ‘People ask me “Why do you risk death?”. For me, this is life.’

In 2008, James Marsh‘s brilliant documentary Man on Wire was released, based on the same event – Philippe Petit’s 1974 history-making-sky-walk in New York.

walk-poster2And finally, it’s time for the biopic.

Director Robert Zemeckis best known for Who Framed Roger Rabbitthe Back to the Future series and also for his collaboration with actor Tom Hanks in films like Forrest Gump and Cast Away comes up this year with his spectacular tightrope-walker biopic, named simply The Walk.

Now the problem with biopics (specially if dependent on some specific event) is that the audience in general remembers what exactly happened in reality and thus the director’s chance of playing with the element of suspense is almost nil.

But then also, when the viewers sit on the edge of their seats thrilled and scared to death while experiencing THE famous Walk between the two towers, that alone proves the success of the director and his film.

walk-poster4Of course the brilliant CGI and impeccable visual effects helps a lot and Dariusz Wolski as the cinematographer has enormous contribution in the film’s success, but still Robert Zemeckis as a director has nailed this one. The drama, the tension, the courage and the fear, all executed in perfect proportions and the effect is awesome!

One other guy who is very much responsible for making the film a memorable one is Joseph Gordon-Levitt

An actor with immense potential and many super cool past performances (in films like Mysterious Skin(500) Days of SummerHesherInception50/50Don Jon), this time he is ready to charm us with his perfect French accent, wearing blue contact lenses and a boyish smile as he plays Philippe Petit in the film.

walk-poster1Trained by Philippe Petit himself (and with the help of a stunt double as well) Joseph Gordon-Levitt played the part to perfection.

Other actors like Charlotte Le Bon, Guillaume BaillargeonBen Kingsley were all at their best.

Though essentially based on a French guy and almost all the characters in the film are French but still with the pretext of ‘practicing their English to make it better’ the dialogues are mostly in English. That’s kind of understandable though, otherwise the film would have turned into a French film!

Overall The Walk is an amazing experience, a celebration of freedom and spirit (and the loving memories of the Twin Towers); a tale of one man’s dream being fulfilled though it was an illegal and not to mention the most dangerous dream to come true.

P.S. Please watch it in 3D. One of the very few films that justifies the purpose of 3D glasses.

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.comwww.businessinsider.com