Of course you've guessed that this is about the two movies that released last week - Slumdog Millionaire and Raaz. Watched them. Both. Same day. The verdict. Yoohoo!!
Saw two movies on the same day after ages... Even Jumbo and Outsourced, I watched on consecutive days, so this was a first after ages!!
Let me begin at the beginning. I was readying myself for viewing Slumdog Millionaire/Crorepati, and this led me to flick through Vikas Swarup’s Q and A a day before the movie released. In 15 minutes flat, I refreshed my reading enough so that I could link back the movie scenes to the original novel. (I was told the movie is very different from the book, but any which way, I wished to compare and contrast.)
The movie is 2 hours long, and let me tell you, it’s a masterpiece. More so, coz it’s made by a non-Indian. I’m not aware what the controversy about Amitabh Bacchan was (something about his criticizing the way India is portrayed in the movie), but I sure felt the film is neither untruthful nor unbecoming.
The icing on the cake is A. R. Rehman’s pulsating music that sets your feet and heart throbbing. One scene that’s etched on my mind is where young Jamal (not Dev Patel; I mean his younger version) claps hands with his brother as he runs to escape the police who drive him and his cricket buddies from their runway-playground. The music wizard lends his hand in further making the scene extraordinary. A perfect start to an almost perfect movie.
Why “almost”? Coz I got a little bored with the constant attention Salim and Latika were getting in the plot. Agreed they’re the protagonist’s sibling and lover, but the movie is about Jamal, not them... At least the book was...
Oops, I kinda assumed you’ve either read the novel or seen the film. Almost everyone has. But for those who’ve done neither, let me tell you, the book and movie are both about this fellow from the Mumbai slums, an illiterate vagabond who wins a fortune on the show “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” by answering all questions correctly. He’s no genius, but he happened to know those and only those answers that were asked on the show. (Including a famous hero’s first movie, a fictional character, about revolvers and poets – these were similar to the book, but the other Qs were very different.)
The movie itself is quite unlike the book – Salim and Jamal are siblings instead of just friends in the movie, and the scenes with the Australian diplomat and famous yesteryear actress are completely deleted. The reasons for Jamal’s arrest are also dissimilar. However, the film is engaging and realistic, and baby Jamal takes your breath away; he’s super sweet!
I’m tempted to tell you a few anecdotes, but I shan’t. You ought to go and see it yourself. It’s a very unusual movie, by no means a waste of time and money. Excellent performances, terrific direction; all in all, a great watch. My rating – 8.5 on 10. (Minus some Salim-Latika, add another story, and I’ll increase the cumulative by one more point.)
A brilliant contender is Mohit Suri’s Raaz. I won’t compare the two movies (you shouldn’t either), coz they’re poles apart. Both belong to entirely diverse genres and both have distinct characters and actors. And as I learnt at inlingua, you cannot compare things that are not comparable – which means that two phenomena need to belong to the same class/category to be compared with each other. (You cannot say Amitabh is taller than Jaya, coz Jaya is NOT tall by a long shot. Simple and useful English tip for everyone!)
But one thing I’ll say, I had more than my dose of abuses for the day. (Not personally, on the screen, I mean. Hey that rhymed again!) Be it gaalis of the mother or sister, both movies have them in profusion.
Before I tell you the secret of Raaz, let me tell you a few things. One, the theatre did not appear to be houseful (though I’ve heard the movie has done very well). There are three (four, if you count the ghost) main characters in the film. The first is Adhyayan Suman (Shekhar “Mover and Shaker” Suman’s son) who plays Yash, a reality TV show host. He looks like a ready mix of 3 people I know – namely, a friend Shreyas Bangad, the actor Aftab Shivdasani, and someone else I can’t remember now. Emraan looks scary with his crazy hair and wide open eyes, but the paintings he draws (whoever the real artist is) are marvelous. As for Kangana Ranaut, I can’t think of any other actress who could have done justice to the role. She looks naive yet creepy just as the scene demands.
So basically, this 150 minute movie is about a deshbhakt who sacrifices his life for the benefit of his countrymen. What transforms him into a ghoul is the fact that his death is a waste coz the criminals (one is a short baldy like the one in the Addam’s family wearing dark clothes) are still out at large. So, Mr. Jackie “Phantom” Shroff comes back from the dead to seek revenge and expose the truth.
Doesn’t sound too terrifying, na? Its not, in retrospective. There are a few bloodcurdling scenes (my fav is when Kang gets hung mid-air) but what considerably marred my fear factor was that mum had shut her eyes and insisted I do non-stop commentary so that she isn’t scared yet knows what’s going on. (*^#%&^&#^%)
Well, I did my daughterly duty, and enjoyed the unfolding of the plot (as much as I could possibly). How Jackie troubles Kangna coz her one innocent statement provokes her boyfriend to support the offenders, how Emran can see and paint Kang’s misery before she experiences it, how Kang roams the countryside in search of the answer to her bhootiyagiri...
Two dialogues that stayed with me long after the movie : Emran says, “Tum itne keemti tohfe ki kadar nahi karte, aur ek hum hai ki unki tassveer pe dhool tak nahi chaddhne dete”... WOW! And the other is when Kang tries to explain she didn’t cut her vein – “Tum jaante ho main apne appa se kitna pyar karti hoon, main aise kaise karungi?!!” Hehe...
My rating – 9 on 10. (This doesn’t mean R is actually better than SM. As I said, you cannot compare them with each other.) It’s just that I enjoyed getting frightened, and the songs were pretty good, too. Especially Toshi’s “Maahi” which I hated at first.
(Sorry guys, for bringing this to you so late. Sunday’s review on Thursday isn’t a grand thing. However, you should give it to me – I manage to write to you everyday despite work and other stuff. Just didn’t get by to writing this entire story at one go the last few days.)
So go along with family, friends and lovers, and enjoy yourself!
(Just make sure you don’t need to describe the scenes to your partner during the movie.)