Saturday, February 28, 2009

And oh ...

Did I mention that I loved “Luck by Chance”? No? Well let me tell you I loved “Luck by Chance”. Like just about every other person On The Blogs.

(Is there a distinct Blogger Sensibility? Is it a Mutant Gene? Perhaps one day the Alien Power that Rules The Universe from its Haunt in A Far Galaxy will trip a ginormous switch, and the Blogger Hordes will Emerge From Their Lairs, eyes glazed with fixity of purpose, laptops fraught with menace, perhaps even uniformed in pink chaddis. And some of them will be singing Joan Baez – you know the one I mean? Come from the shadows? – and of course there will be ONE who thinks she’s SUPER at Don’t cry for me Argentina and she’s sulking because she can’t get to sing it with all the grand gestures. Only it will not be a Dangerous Movement, because like all Blogger Movements, it will be peaceful and law-abiding and maybe even Libertarian, so after they have Saved the World in Five Easy Steps, all the bloggers will go home and tap out long earnest posts about the Importance of Participation.

And the next day they will find that all this Never Really Happened, because the Main-Stream Media will have Ignored It Completely.)

LbC isn’t the only recent movie I liked. Delhi 6 is pretty good too. In fact, I loved it. All but the last 20 minutes or so, which was … well, crappy. Sad. So few Hindi films can wrap it up nicely (LbC being an exception – nice wrap-up, no incredible happy ending that throws the film off-kilter). A review here doesn’t make much sense because both Baradwaj R and Pratim DG have reviewed it (and after ages, BR has a review I agree with! Jai ho!). Like they both said, the music and the screenplay and dialogues are superb, Abhishek Bacchan does a (surprisingly) good job, Sonam Kapoor sheds her blues, but a couple of points they missed. A “dream sequence” in a Hindi film that really has the almost-there, almost-rational quality of a dream. Great graphics, too, with Times Square in comic-book colour. And the other sequence I loved was the parkour interlude across the rooftops of Chandni Chowk. Fun came. But (spoiler alert here) they really should have killed off Roshan (Abhishek’s character). Would have driven home the “Message” much more forcefully.

In other film news, I was on a 1960s desert trip. Andalusian. Sergio Leone and the Dollar series. Some interesting sidelights. That the man who possibly made the most money from the first – A Fistful of Dollars (the ‘A’ isn’t there in the opening titles) – was one A. Kurosawa. Because Fistful is obviously based on Yojimbo, and he sued the pants off Sergio Leone. Which might seem like justice well served, except that Yojimbo itself was based on Dashiell Hammett’s Red Harvest without any acknowledgement. Reminded me of the time when Vishwa Bharati sued Rajesh Roshan for lifting the tune of ChhNoo kar mere man ko (Yaarana) from Tomaar holo shuru (music and lyrics, R. Tagore). They were chuffing along all self-righteous and indignant, guardians of Bangali kaalchaar, until one Burman, R.D., pointed out that Mr. Tagore himself had appropriated the tune from a Scottish folk song. Exit Kaalchaar Brigade, stage left, as if pursued by a bear.

Reading up on the Dollar series also threw up an interesting trivium about Roger Ebert. Back in 1966, when he reviewed The Good, the Bad and the Ugly on its release, he only gave it 3 stars because he was young and pretentious. Later, when he had become, he saw it again and gave it 4 stars. Quentin Tarantino, bless his determinedly unpretentious low-culture soul, said in 2002 that it was the greatest film ever made. I can’t entirely agree, but Yay all the same.

So then I went looking for More Sergio Stuff and found a little gem (thank you, Dhaka). Not so little either, it runs for close to 4 hours. But just think, Sergio Leone directing Robert de Niro in a gang epic. With Elizabeth McGovern looking lovely. And an appearance by a young(er) Joe Pesci, who has always been a personal favourite (if he could only have pulled in Jean Reno as well - what a waste of a casting coup with both of them in Home Alone). The usual lavish visual delight one associates with Leone. Dry-eyed hard-nosed depiction of the way morals are a dispensable luxury when one is poor. De Niro must have felt a bit of déjà vu, there are parallels to Godfather-II (so far the only sequel that equalled the original by winning the Oscar for Best Motion Picture) in the way it traces the back story of the hoods from childhood. I love it. And I’m rationing myself to half an hour at a time. In fact, time to get back to it now.

Once upon a time in America (1984). If you haven’t seen it already, go get it. now.


tami said...

This is a good guide! Now I know why my big sister has been making such a big deal about watching Delhi 6 and 'Luck by Chance'!

She is going to have a blast if I tell her I DO NOT have a clue who Sonam Kapoor. Yes, I have not watched hindi movies in ages, but the sister can write a book.

I like Joan Baez :)- esp diamonds and rusts, and NOT "Don’t cry for me Argentina"

"Once upon a Time in America", I agree, is a must watch. any day.

J. Alfred Prufrock said...

Thank you, kind lady.
Now if only you would proof-read ..