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Just hand him an Oscar, will you?

19 May

all oscar movies

Yes, movie lovers throughout the world had this unanimous exclamation when it came to their favorite star ‘Leo’. They hoped this time the Academy ‘dare’ not go wrong. When Leonardo DiCaprio emerged as a strong contender to this year’s Oscars in the Best Actor category for his performance in ‘The Revenant’, other nominees like Eddie Redmayne and Matt Damon went a step forward and put his name above theirs in front of the media. This was because they too knew playing a revenant was not an easy task.

‘The Revenant’ is a story of scars, the scars we all carry inside and out. Leonardo DiCaprio plays a frontiersman named Hugh Glass, who was on a fur-trading expedition with his hunting team in 18th century America. In a deadly hunting encounter with a bear, he is left with scars throughout his body. As supporting and carrying him grows impossible for his team members, he is abandoned and left behind in the snow to die.

But Hugh survives. He eats raw bison meat, gives himself a burn shock to prevent infection, gets inside a dead horse’s skin to keep himself warm, gets help when he is totally exhausted, but he survives. “As long as you can still grab a breath, you fight. You breathe… keep breathing-“ he keeps his heart warm with his dead wife’s soothing words “When there is a storm, and you stand in front of a tree, if you look at it’s branches, you swear it will fail, but if you watch the trunk, you will see it’s stability.”

On his death-bed after the bear attack, Hugh has helplessly watched his son put to death by one of his teammates, John Fitzgerald. He survives for this lone reason to find John and to kill him. Hugh is a revenant himself. But when he finally gets hold of John after his incredible life battle, Hugh sees the glimpses of his own life in a brink. “Revenge is in God’s hands.. not mine-“ he realises.

DiCaprio carries Hugh with such a poise, you cannot stop commending him. It is not one of those movies you see Leonardo usually in. Unlike his role in ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ where he plays a ruthless stock-broker or in ‘Django Unchained’ where he is an evil landlord who finds pleasure in watching two black men fight to death, DiCaprio brings his soul to the forefront in his latest ‘The Revenant’. This sixth Oscar nomination, is undoubtedly Leo’s best performance so far.

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‘The Revenant’ has also brought home two other Oscars to Direction (Alejandro J. Inarritu) and to Cinematography. It is a second consecutive win for Inarritu after last year’s epic ‘Birdman’.

Brie Larson’s performance in ‘Room’ is worth an Oscar. She plays a young mother who is locked up in a shed for seven years by a sadist-rapist. Her journey of preparing her five-year old son to face the outer world is convincing, yet terrifying in this powerful film. Although Jacob Tremblay who plays her five year old son is a real star of this movie, Brie, with her large depressed eyes brings the tale of a troubled mother to life.

How can I end this article without mentioning ‘Spotlight’? In this ‘Best Picture of the Year,’ a group of journalists from ‘Boston globe’ uncovers a scandal of child molestation in several churches throughout Boston. A victory for true journalism, this real story is a tale worth telling.

Before I conclude, tell me how many actors we can find who mentions climate change in their victory speeches? Kudos to DiCaprio who ended his Oscar speech by saying “Let us do not take this planet for granted. I do not take this night for granted.”

Oh, yes Leo! You have earned it!

 

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This is Rockstar, a film on passion

5 Jan

Ranbir_Kapoor-rockstarHe murmurs in a deep shivering voice confessing in front of his senior friend, “Please kuch karo, mera dil nahi thutna chahiye” (Please do something; my heart should not be broken). This utterance doesn’t come to his rescue but reluctantly succeeds in venturing a rockstar in him. Few years back, you would see the same vehement guy who went in search of pain to rediscover that ‘go’ from within. He denies it, anyway, thereafter.

This is ‘Rockstar’, a film on passion. It depicts the life of a pop-singer who aptly has a passion for music, for desire and for his lady love.

The film casts Janardhan, an enthusiastic guy from an ordinary family in Delhi whose life, a morsel of monotony, without ups and downs. The pain of a broken heart, according to him, would pave the way to success. In search of fault pain he finds a true companion in Heer, an ebullient girl of crazy desires which she wishes to quench before her to- be- held arranged marriage. Jordan, a nickname given by her becomes Janardhan’s identity, his signature in his music career.

Throughout this film, one can find various forms of pain. The malaise of girl friend’s marriage, the piercing pain inbuilt in Sufi songs, the pain to lose his lady love for the second time, physical pain of being beaten down… the pain which drives Jordan into the passion towards creative endeavor.  Jordan who cannot imitate others paves his own way. But later, this pain comes out as such a popular music; even his loud shriek will be followed by the applause of a crowd.

Beyond his eccentricities which make his fans crazy and a media crowd around him, Jordan lives in his own world, where he bothers about no worldly affairs.

Amid all his films, Rockstar serves as Ranbir Kapoor’s extraordinary masterpiece which proves him as an established actor. Jordan, who discovers the sound of guitar in his girl’s physique, whose fingers play the tunes of guitar in air when he hears a rockband, finds the right stage to emulsify his talent and his love for music even in the brothel.

Imtiaz Ali’s tact of storytelling has given the film an ardent touch of earnestness. The same story would be plain if the editing (Aarati Bajaj) didn’t supported the film so well.

A.R. Rahman’s music and background chore plays complementary to the screenplay; Mohit Chavan’s vocal is a cherry on its top.

 

Paan Singh Tomar- a worth watch

19 Nov

“Saab, hamen toh choutwa kaksha fail hai. Abhi hum toh kitab kum aadmi zyada pada hai.. (I have not even completed fourth standard Sir, I have read people more than books)” says Paan Singh to one of the senior Army official. The same words prove him wrong in many of his life circumstances throughout.

Paan Singh Tomar, a film directed by Tigmanshu Dhulia showcases the life of an athlete who had verve and who deserved a high place in the society, but was declined of it by negligence. Paan Singh, an innocent and enthusiastic young man who changes his victory path from military to sports just to suffice his passion for good food will not be aware of the gusto in him until his coach discovers it. If a wild beast in him was not invoked by negative elements of his surroundings, this genius of zany humor would have contributed as a retrospective to Indian sports.

But his sportsman spirit was ruined for no cause. The film shows how ignorance may light up a fire in a spotless identity. His words “Hum ko dhar naiy; Jaan dunga magar surrender nahi karunga” (I have no fear. I would rather perish than to surrender)” reflects his audacity towards the putrid system.

It is true that the anti- social elements are celebrated in the media. It is human tendency to gape at something negative, at something which creates discomfort to mankind. But at the same time, when someone wins a high honor by his own effort, the community is least bothered. Same thing happens in case of Paan Singh too. Once, frustrated, he points his name in media with dejection where he was made popular overnight as a dacoit.

The film is all set to exhibit Paan Singh. So the other characters appear to be namesake sometimes. Irrfan has ones again proved his stamina as an actor of international caliber. Mahi Gill deserves applause.

Spark Scenes

  • A police inspector throws away Paan Singh’s gold medal in anger. When Paan picks it from the floor, the faded medal reflects to demonstrate futility.
  • The last scene, when Paan Singh recalls his golden days, he recalls a lovely Japanese fan of his, calling him in her own accent. This holds the audience in grief.
  • Paan Singh asks his fellowman to switch off the radio, his eyes filled with distress.
  • Paan Singh visits his coach’s house to collect his photographs. But realizing the lacuna of times, he quits the pseudo attempt to recall his past self into which he would never return. He leaves the photograph in the album itself.

And many more.. A film worth a watch.

 

 

New light into Brothels

5 Nov

‘Born into Brothels’ is a documentary by Ross Kauffman and Zana Briski, focused on saplings of prostitutes who work in brothels and red light areas of Calcutta. It is an Academy award winning documentary produced in 2004.

Zana Briski selects eight children living in Brothels with their mothers. The children were almost ‘used to’ that environment, they washed clothes and utensils and go to play when their mothers were busy in earning bread. Their vision about brothels has become so casual, one of the girl Suchitra answers very coolly to the question of her aunt, “When you decided to join the line?”

Zana conducts a photography campaign for these eight children, Avijit, Manik, Puja, Shanti, Gour, Tapasi, Suchitra and Kochi. ‘Camera’ becomes most attractive source among the children. The purpose of Zana was to understand how the world looks like to these children.

She first shows some photos and asks the children to pick their favorite photo. Then she hands over the camera to the children and asks them to click few interesting ones.

Zana discovers unique sight of children grown up in brothels. They suffer from high insecurity and that was reflected in the photos clicked by them. They were taken to the Zoo and admitted to a schooling belonging to a Christian Missionary. Zana and Ross Kauffman brought them out from brothels and were shifted to hostels during the campaign.

This documentary also focuses on success of their project of bringing the children out of the brothels. Avijit, Gour. Tapasi and Kochi aims to join school whereas Manik, Puja, Shanti and Suchitra are still living in their houses hoping to come out.

I must say that the documentary is all about swimming against all odds and almost hoping against the lost hope!

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