Sarbjit (2016)

Sarbjit review

written by Souranath Banerjee

A story so powerful yet disturbing, an emotional biographical tale told in Bollywood style, that promises to wring your soul to it’s full potential!

My Ratings: 4/5.

In the year 1990, Sarabjit Singh, an Indian by nationality, a farmer from Bhikiwind, Punjab, (a village located by the Indo-Pak border) SARABJIT-SINGH-POSTERcrossed the border my mistake and strayed into Pakistan.

He was captured by the Pakistani Army/Police and was wrongfully convicted of spying and terrorism.

Sarabjit was tortured and made to surrender himself as Manjit Singh (the real terrorist in question) and was also compelled to confess on crimes that included a series of bomb blasts in Lahore and Faisalabad. And soon enough he was dutifully condemned by the Supreme Court of Pakistan and sentenced to death for crimes he never committed! 

Though his sentence (death by hanging) was postponed for several years by the government of Pakistan, but unfortunately in-between the political rivalry between two neighboring countries an sarbjit-poster-3innocent life was sacrificed and his family ruined for ever.

Now obviously this biopic Sarbjit is based on this unfortunate man’s life but interestingly enough the film is told more from the perspective of Sarbjit’s sister Dalbir Kaur.

Dalbir Kaur (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan), a lady of true courage and determination who gave her entire life fighting for her brother’s freedom! And then of course there is Sarbjit’s wife, Sukhpreet Kaur (Richa Chadha) and their daughters Swapandeep and Poonam Kaur who stood by Dalbir and was devoted to Sarbjit through out his life. 

The film has such a powerful story that needs to be told and I must say director Omung Kumar have done justice to it. A few unnecessary sarbjit-poster-4songs here and there (though melodious), a few over-emotional dialogues (typical Bollywood style), but overall the film is a sincere attempt to portray the terror, agony and injustice that a man and his family had to endure for no reason at all.

Aishwarya has done a pretty good job being the heartbroken sister with a resolution, though I felt she was not the perfect choice for Dalbir Kaur’s role, somehow maybe she was a bit less Punjabi in comparison to the other actors.

At least better than Priyanka Chopra being casted as a Manipuri boxer, but again in India, stardom plays a huge role behind a film’s success – right?

Richa Chadha again proved herself as an exceptionally talented sarbjit-poster-5actress; through her body language and even in the rare moments of silence she managed to convey a lot of unspoken emotions.

But trust me, the real star of the film is none other than Randeep Hooda

Such a versatile actor and a power house of talent; specially in the jail-scenes in the second half of the film, it is a real treat to watch him perform.  

Darshan Kumaar has a brief but interesting role and he did make his presence felt.

A good script, superb acting and most importantly a great ‘true’ story to tell – Sarbjit is a film definitely worth a watch.

No surprise that the Censor board of Pakistan has banned the film as ‘anti-Pakistani’! 

Poster courtesy: www.bollywoodmdb.com

Best weird Greek New Wave Cinema (10+1list)

Best weird Greek New Wave Cinema 

written by Souranath Banerjee

Best weird Greek New Wave Cinema – Probably the most intriguing moment for a film enthusiast is to notice a certain mutation in the movies produced from a lobster-posterparticular country over a specific period of years. And then, be able to link that unique transformation of cinema with the contemporary social and economic scenario of this nation!

Greece has always been a country of great cinematic heritage, home-ground of master filmmakers like Costa-Gavras and Theodoros Angelopoulos

But recently, say over the past five-six years, the Greek movies which are interesting enough to grab the attention of the international festivals are not only very unusual (both in form and content) but also pretty dark, often highly sexually explicit and abusive, and above all exceptionally weird!  

attenberg-poster2Keeping in mind that Cinema has always been the true reflection of a  country and it’s socio-economic scenario, and Greece obviously still reeling from a recent global financial crisis, i have no doubt that these weird yet unapologetic, low budget yet highly artistic movies are directly mirroring the awkward uneasiness of a post-recession society.

But then again, most of these Greek films are a great insight to human psychology, and it is no surprise that the contemporary avant-garde style of the alternative Greek New Wave is having such a shocking effect on the global audience!

As some call it the Greek Weird Wave, here is a list of films that contains the Best weird Greek New Wave Cinema.

Enjoy! 

10. Boy Eating the Bird’s Food (2012)

To agori troei to fagito tou pouliou (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6mdrg7jGZKY

Weird-Greek-New-Wave-CinemaA boy who has a bird as his beloved pet, all caged up. But other than that, he has no company; neither he has any money/job nor any food to eat.

Directed by Ektoras Lygizos, this film depicts three days in the life of this lonely boy; how he manages to survive and more importantly how he desperately tries to feed his pet canary and keep it safe.    

9. Wasted Youth (2011)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GdAN7MMU4gU

Weird-Greek-New-Wave-CinemaDirected by Argyris Papadimitropoulos and Jan Vogel, this is the story of a teenage boy and a middle-aged cop and how their lives get intwined by the end of the film. 

The film simply mirrors the life of the general day to day life of the young crowd of Athens through the aimlessness of a young boy and the overall frustration of the low income middle aged men through the cop character.

8. Knifer (2010)

Macherovgaltis (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQ4EA97XNhY

Weird-Greek-New-Wave-CinemaA man comes to the city and takes up a new job to guard the dogs at his Uncle’s place. But then the relationships start changing and things get difficult as he gets too close to his Uncle’s wife!

Directed by Yannis Economides, this is a visually stylized film made in black and white, a great drama that feeds on injustice; somehow it relates with the current socio-political scenario of the country.  

7Alps (2011)

Alpeis (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9i2xl_vo88w

Weird-Greek-New-Wave-CinemaAn unique business conceived by a group of people who is ready to impersonate a recently deceased person for the benefit of their loved ones (their clients), basically to help them go through the grieving process with ease.

As odd and weird the concept may seem like, this is one intriguing film directed by none other than Yorgos Lanthimos (of the recent The Lobster fame). 

6. A Woman’s Way (2009)

Strella (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bNP6IeO8cDw

Weird-Greek-New-Wave-CinemaDirected by Panos H. Koutras, probably the weirdest in the list.

A man released from prison have sex with a young transsexual prostitute and they soon fall in love, only to find out later that they are related to each other in more ways than just lovers!

Brilliant performances and great cinematography that makes this weird film work.

5. What If… (2012)

An… (original title)

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

Weird-Greek-New-Wave-CinemaA simple choice made by a man leads him to his love of life! Now what if he didn’t make that choice?

Directed by Christopher Papakaliatis, this unique film shows both sides of the man’s life (if he made that choice or not) and how much his life alters because of it. 

Most importantly the film also comments on the impact of a severe economic crisis and it’s effects on the people of the country.

4. The Enemy Within (2013)

O ehthros mou (original title)

 Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4lTTQu0LYE

Weird-Greek-New-Wave-CinemaA sudden act of violence from some unknown intruders disrupts the peace of a family and now it is up to the man of the house to bring back things into proper perspective. But how?

Directed by Yorgos Tsemberopoulos, this is one terrific film that deals with the social instability of Greece and also touches the sensitive subject of immigrants and refugees and their effects on the country.

3. Miss Violence (2013)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1dFFN0igjJY

Weird-Greek-New-Wave-CinemaAn eleven year old girl jumps off her balcony on the day of her birthday, she dies with a smile on her face!

Apparently a case of suicide and the family insists it to be one but as the investigation proceeds some dreadful facts comes to surface.

Directed by Alexandros Avranas, an insanely weird family drama.

2. Attenberg (2010)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2582qyfXOSs

Weird-Greek-New-Wave-CinemaDirected by Athina Rachel Tsangari, this is the strange story of a girl who at one side deals with her father’s illness and on the other tries to learn to become more affectionate to other human beings (physically as well).

Awkward yet direct, shy yet explicit, uniquely distant yet deeply bounded with love – and obviously weird. A film that will be with you for a long time but not entirely for the right reasons.

  1. Dogtooth (2009)

Kynodontas (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QFtDzK64-pk

Weird-Greek-New-Wave-CinemaLocked up, overprotected and completely unaware of the outside world, three teenagers are being brought up by their authoritative parents in an isolated house, where incest and violence is a natural day to day affair!

Yorgos Lanthimos creates this uniquely disoriented world where even the regular vocabulary looses it’s sense.

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

+1. Worlds Apart (2015)

Enas Allos Kosmos (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Czt-FCxp4I

Weird-Greek-New-Wave-CinemaDirected by Christopher Papakaliatis, this is a film that tells us three different stories, each one is about a love affair between a Greek and a foreigner, and how these stories entangle themselves into one by the end of the film.

All the tales are of different generations, and their attitude towards the recent socioeconomic calamity in most of the South European countries including Greece.

Similar Interest: Best Japanese weird films

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.com

10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

10 Cloverfield Lane review

written by Souranath Banerjee

The success of the film lies in creating the constant doubt in the minds of the audience.    

My ratings: 4/5

Only few rare people have an escape plan all figured out in anticipation of the moment when the world will be in the verge of destruction.

And you should consider yourself real lucky if at the very moment of an apocalypse you are saved by one such person who keeps you safe ten-cloverfield-lane-poster1and alive in his specially built underground shelter, completely sealed from the disastrous outer world!

But wait; what if this world-coming-to-an-end theory is all a facade and the lucky ones are actually taken prisoners in this so-called safe-house, including you?

10 Cloverfield Lane is a thriller that skillfully explores this innovative concept and through a series of dramatic events the film keeps the audience guessing till the end.

Debutant director Dan Trachtenberg has managed to create enough suspense with just three characters and that too within a few indoor locations (at least for 90% of the film). 

And on top of that some great performances by John Goodman (one of my ten-cloverfield-lane-poster2favorite character actor)Mary Elizabeth Winstead and John Gallagher Jr. have managed to pull the film through with enough expertise.

The CGI parts (though visible for very little screen time) are decently executed but i doubt how much good does they do to the story.

I mean the film could have been better with an alternative ending where there was no need for any VFX at all. Well, just a thought.

But never mind, overall 10 Cloverfield Lane is a very different kind of shelter-film, engaging and entertaining, and it keeps you at the edge of your seat – no complains.

Watch it if you like indoor dramas with few characters and a hint of SCI FI in it.

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.com

The Witch (2015)

The Witch review.

written by Souranath Banerjee

The evil takes many forms and some of them you only wish you never knew of.    

My ratings: 3.8/5

A puritan family banished from their community takes refuge by the edge of the forest, but soon their newborn baby disappears, the crops fail too, and then the witch-hunt begins!

witch-poster2The Witch is a long anticipated film for the fans of the horror genre; heard too many good things about it and the praises seem legit enough.

1630, New England, Black magic and a poor but devout Christian family getting possessed – well, this almost entirely sums up the basic story line but thankfully the USP of this film is not its predictable narrative.

The Witch is more of an experience of terror that mostly isn’t directly visible on-screen. The horror can be felt through the helplessness of the family and their desperate attempts to seek out the witch in them.

The real panic moments for the audience comes from the dark and eerie forest scenes shot by Jarin Blaschke, perfectly synced with the witch-poster3brilliantly haunting music by Mark Korven.

Director/writer Robert Eggers has done a great job recreating the seventeenth century, a period that was suffocated with superstitions, sorceries and which-crafts.

And the splendid performances by Anya Taylor-JoyRalph InesonKate Dickie and Harvey Scrimshaw gives the film the believability it needed.

I wish the story could have been a bit more than just a folklore and the ending a more definitive one, but then again the creep factor in the film simply trumps over all other aspects! 

It is said that Stephen King was terrified watching The Witch but the real question is – what about you?

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.com

The Man Who Knew Infinity (2015)

The Man Who Knew Infinity review

written by Souranath Banerjee

An important story of a legend that needed to be told for sure but at the same time could have been told in more style.   

My ratings: 3.9/5

From a poverty stricken village in Madras a young self-taught mathematical prodigy eventually becomes an elected fellow member of Trinity College, Cambridge!

Within a short life span of only 32 years this Indian math genius independently composed nearly 3,900 unique equations, most of
Srinivasa-Ramanujan-posterwhich are revered globally such as the ‘Ramanujan prime’ and the ‘Ramanujan theta function’.
 

But his hall of fame doesn’t end there; very recently (in 2012 to be exact) modern scientists have confirmed that in one of his precious (lost and found) notebook this legendary mind had scribbled certain intuitive notes that actually suggests the existence of black holes!

Srinivasa Ramanujan Iyengar – he is the man who indeed knew about infinity and much more.

The film The Man Who Knew Infinity directed by Matt Brown is the biographical tale of Ramanujan’s life; a bit of his personal life, his devotions and beliefs, his never ending quest for pure mathematics and mostly his unique collaboration with English mathematician G. H. Hardy.man-who-knew-infinity-poster2

First of all, let me acknowledge the fact that the very idea of making a film on Ramanujan’s life is impressive because no matter how legendary he was, but a biography on a Indian mathematician is always difficult to portray in an interesting and commercially viable manner.

But on the same note i must confess that the film could have been more innovative and appealing (specially when compared to some awesome biographies like A Beautiful Mind, The Theory of Everything and The Imitation Game); the script could have been woven in a more endearing way not only to show the mere facts of man-who-knew-infinity-poster1Ramanujan’s life but also to make the audience really feel the genius of this man.

Dev Patel as Ramanujan though has done a great job. He is such a talented and versatile actor and I am convinced that only because of his honest attempt to portray the iconic figure that the film The Man Who Knew Infinity holds it’s ground till the end.

Jeremy Irons as G. H. Hardy is also impressive, the professor who not only recognized Ramanujan’s immense potential and helped him achieve greatness but also used his talent till exhaustion (of course for the sake of a better future of mathematics).  

Toby Jones as Littlewood, Devika Bhise as Ramanujan’s wife, Stephen FryPadraic DelaneyRichard Cunningham and all the others did
man-who-knew-infinity-postertheir part to support the main cast.

Overall The Man Who Knew Infinity is a decent film based on the life of an extraordinary man to whom our modern science and mathematics will be indebted forever.

Compared internationally to the likes of Newton and Einstein, on Ramanujan’s 125th birth anniversary in 2011, our Indian Government have declared 22nd December as the National Mathematics Day which will be celebrated every year. 

Do watch the film and henceforth don’t forget to solve at least one math problem on every 22nd of December!

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.com