Archive | November, 2011

MY CAMERA – THE WOMAN I LOVE

26 Nov

I wanted to thank Canon and its team for what they gave me. And it’s an ode about my camera which is now the woman in my life. I walk, care and in fact sleep with it now. My camera is CANON EOS 7D, the best affordable camera in market that has a crop size APSC sensor (for full frame 5D Mk 2 is best). I took it solely keeping in mind its video capabilities as I wanted to make short films before I make a feature film and this has produced remarkable results as a few shots in my short film BABU KOSAM. This has all good qualities and is the most useful camera for short film makers. I love it in all ways and will have it by all means. I would upgrade to 5D on a day when my feature film is confirmed.

I have the below lenses :

EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6

I lens that I did not like at the beginning but now I started to like. It’s range from 18mm to 135mm makes it a must have wedding photography lens and a terrific lens to carry around. All shots that I took in my trip HIMALAYAS to BAY OF BENGAL are from this lens. One example is this
EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6
Easily the most affordable zoom that has very good optics and delivers great picture quality. It surely has an astronomical difference when compared with 55-250 mm lens that I used earlier. Later on, the L series lens got released with same specifications and I would like to have an L series one day but the aperture is 4 minimum and 2.8, I would love that. Let’s see if canon releases something like EF 70-300mm f/2.8 L.
One photo I took from this lens is,
EF 100mm f/2.8 L
This is my L series lens so exceptional quality is what I did expect and got it whenever I tried it, my close ups in BABU KOSAM are an example of that (though very limited) and this is one lens I will keep for my life and I absolutely love it. 
Look at the below example for this.
EF 50mm f/1.8 II 
My latest addition and though I wanted to go for another L series, the 50mm f/1.2 L which cost 80K. I went for this only for price which is just 6K and I hope it does well. Will add a pic to this later on.
Thanks CANON my enhanced my love for photography.
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THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN (2011) – ENGLISH

22 Nov
What a fun, what a ride and alas it ended so very quickly.
Mind you, this is a steven Spielberg film and he worked with Peter Jackson in production design. So this film has to be great or at the worst level good, and it indeed is great for me. No drama, no romance, rather no girl in the whole film actually. It’s a straight adventure that is reminiscent of Indiana Jones in many ways. 
I remember collecting TINTIN pages from the weekly magazine THE WEEK and making it into episodes. Alas, I lost those pages but I found him back again with this movie. 
Every frame is picture perfect and is very well crafted. Be it the first scene of the look of ship through mirror or last scene of finding the treasure, every frame is top quality. With production budget that this film has and the brains that worked for the film, the minimum expectation is awesomeness in every scene and then it has to rise above the script to be called as a great movie. Now, if the first 15 minutes sounded bore then this film is not for you coz that was just the build up and basis for what lies ahead.
Once Haddock enters, he takes the film hed on and makes it an adventure worth more than our money and time. Haddock, the captain who has a very typical accent came out in the best form and better than what I ever imagined. Best lines of the movie were by Haddock while the reactions for them by Tintin were mostly innocent and at times hilarious. 
Though it’s a great watch, I still cannot say it’s a must watch for all those unaware of existence of tintin and you need to be really patient for great moments on screen to happen.
Best aspect was animation and yes, it is the best animated movie I saw all this year and this may well receive the best animated film oscar. I also loved the way camera moved and the way and the way sets were designed.
The best scene in a Bike feat, the way Tintin hung to the wire just on handles, awesome. I loved it a lot and it was a laughter riot in theatre.
I would go with 4/5 for Tintin, this movie has to be watched for Haddock more than Tintin.

THE LOST WEEKEND (1945) – ENGLISH

16 Nov
Will he quit drinking even if he convinces so at the end of the movie?
Is this considered as a noir film or not? Rather, what is a noir film if this is not.
Don Birnam, why is he addicted and does he drink only on weekends or on weekdays (Monday to Friday) too?
These were the questions I was left with when I watched this film for the first time two years ago. I found answers and and am convinced after a third time watch.
Will he quit drinking Even if he convinces so at the end of the movie? 
Ans: Does it really matter.
Is this considered as a noir film or not? Rather, what is a noir film if this is not.
Ans: No this not a noir film
Why is he addicted and does he drink only on weekends or on weekdays (Monday to Friday) too?
Ans: He surely has an addiction even on week day too. Reasons for addiction does not bother me as they can be any.
Don Birnam (Ray Milland) is an addicted alcoholic who thrives on it and strives for it. His every emotion be it his joy when he finds a bottled or his fears, they are shown in extremely novel style in a time as 1945 where still a movie on alcoholism was a taboo and alcohol drinking was still not so much in films. I am sure, this film has stylized drinking in a way too. Made in an post World War 2 time, the film has to be looked at historically coz this has great historical relevance. 
Sure, this has all the ingredients of a terrific drama and exactly that is what it turns out to be. It is made uncompromisingly and very very compellingly. Till the very end, we cannot figure out where the movie can lead to. This could have gone anywhere in the climax and the climax is a bit hurried coz it hushes things and ends too quickly to my dislike. I wanted to be savored but had to swallow.
This has very strong characters (only 4 important though) and yet you easily sustain a 90 minute drama.
I really was happy and surprised to have seen this. It’s 3/5 for a film that is good in all ways but still does not rise above to be called great.

BLACK FRIDAY (2007) – HINDI

14 Nov

An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.

A message of Mahatma Gandhi, the line that begins the movie is all about the very essence of it. As per records, it’s a 2004 film but it is sad to know that the release of this was delayed till Feb 9th 2007. Such is our censor board and government that was afraid of releasing a film that takes names of all involved in 1993 Bombay (now Mumbai) Blasts.

Bravo Anurag Kashyap for directing this uncompromisingly with a vison that is so very rare in an industry like us. It’s surely the most courageous attempt to make a film on an account of a real crime happened in 1993. More kudos to Hussain Zaidi, the original writer of the book who wrote actual facts and presenting reason for each doing of a character.

The film is about investigation’s done by Mumbai Cop Rakesh Maria (Kay Kay Menon) that unravels the Mumbai blasts plot setup by the dastardly un human Tiger Memon (Pawan Malhotra). Everything about the film is purely raw and makes you not audience but a participant of the activities happening on screen, they make you feel as a bystander on a blast as a silent observer of an investigation.

Everything is right about this movie, the emotions portrayed by the accused Asgar Muqadam or Badshah Khan or those by inspector Dangle or MN Singh everyone brought life to the character they played.

Anurag, the director captured every emotion be it trauma or a feeling of guilt or even of triumph everything was brought out well. The screenplay goes so very intelligently taking you through the whole incidents and the cinematography and art direction transform you to an era that you will believe is Bombay of 1993 where there were no mobile phones, no communication channels as email. And yet, so much was to be communicated in so little time from dubai to pakistan to india’s bombay.

The best scene for me was Dawood’s entry. It lasts hardly a minute but the impact it made was terrific.

The music, oh my god he used it so very effectively be it a Bharam Bhaap Ke or a Bande ( a subtle message oriented philosophical song for end credits) or the whole background music, just beautiful may be the right word.

The monochromatic red interrogation scenes make you feel eery and present an insight to the minds of all those doing it. All are great dialogues and apt ones but the most impact making one comes from Kay Kay when he describes that the culprits are actually victims.

The editing had to be sharper coz at 2 hours and 40 minutes, the viewer may tend to slip off but this drama held me so very tight that I watched it for 3rd time without moving elsewhere. Be it a theatre or my computer, it just makes me sit and watch. This is how a gripping drama should be told.

I dare say, in last decade, I have not seen a movie more raw, more realistic and more dramatic than this.

When I first saw this film on first day in Fame Theatre in Pune, I remember that hardly 10 people would have seen this. Such is our appreciation for a movie that’s easily one of the best made films. Having said that, so be it as long as there are movie goers who are passionate in watching films, this shall be remembered.

I rate this 5/5 and give it best film made from 2000-2010. How many ever may come and go. This shall remain in memory for a long time, if seen once. This is the kind of film we should be nominating for every foreign award including oscars. Sadly, our government has a different view on such films that are straight telling and bold.

Thanks all for making it the film it stands today and I will revisit this again later.

MAYABAZAR (1957) – TELUGU

13 Nov

No other Telugu movie has transcended the boundaries of language as this film did and it goes on.

If there is one telugu film to refer to say that it is the all time great of all, then this film in every sense does justice to the statement. It indeed, is seriously the best film technically, culturally and aesthetically. Acting is one heck that makes it a must watch and so is the music that will be alive even 100 years later. I love many songs today too and the tiles of most songs are later made as titles for other films. Now, we can understand how loved the film was to every telugu movie goer.

The story is not as though a tale taken from Mahabharata but a fable written by the writer Pingali Nagendra Rao and also Nagireddi and Chakrapani (both Reddy and Chakrapni are founders of Chandamama magazine too) but nevertheless its based on Mahabharatha.

If I were to simplistically write then this is about out how a man helps a girl elope and gets her married to a dear relative of his own. But this movie is not that simplistic it’s multi layered and comes out in many folds as we go about each character. What’s more astonishing is that Ghatothkatcha (who is the main character of the whole film) comes an hour into the film and takes this film head on and gives us a really enthralling performance.

The movie is slow for today’s times but perfect and infact you will crave for more after the completion of it. Such is the magic of this film, just terrific and enjoyable. The cinematography by Marcus Bartley (I suppose the greatest cameraman ever for Telugu films) is so awesome like we wonder how those scenes were made possible in 1957 when there was no CG or computer or any other equipment apart from a camera. Man, he must have been god to create illusions as they were shown in the film.

Everyone did their best from writing to editing to sound design to every aspect of the film. There has since not been a movie that can beat this in all departments in Telugu atleast.

I have both the Black and White and the Colour DVD’s but I prefer to go with B & W. It’s lengthier and pristine so that helps the magic live longer. Having said that, the colour conversion is done well and I was very happy with the fact that this film was being re released.

I bet, that most films made in those good old days of Telugu are much better and much relevant than the crap being made today.

I will go with 5/5 for this movie that will ever be called the best of all Telugu movies.

ANBE SIVAM (2003) – TAMIL

10 Nov

Love is God. Truth is God. This film stands for love and truth.

Titled as Anbe Sivam (Love is God in Tamil) and as Satyame Sivam (Truth is God in Telugu). This movie is about 2 characters Anbarasu (Satyanand in Telugu) and Nalla Sivam (Sada Sivam in Telugu).

There is lot to speak about this film but I will put it all succinctly and I would like everyone to watch this film. Go through one of the most profound philosophical journeys of Indian films and it may make you feel happier, my very sincere request for every film viewer.

The journey begins amidst floods in Bhubneshwar and ends in Chennai. But how did they make and what have they learnt of each other. How did Nalla get scars on his face and what is love for each of these two protagonists. It questions a lot of beliefs and infact very authentically answers most of them. Most questions are by Anbe while most answers are by Sivam. There is a lot of metaphor hidden behing every thing in this film. Like the painting, Sivam does in an office. There is lot of hidden meaning which can be interpreted in multiple ways. But this is it, Truth is God and there is no so called God if there are no good humans. There is a god in every good human. Now, what is good, this abstraction is enhanced into objectivity by bringing in situations so important to each.

Now, acting is top notch by both and so is music (though it brings in a kind of Enigma feeling). Lyrics, I must say are superb for Tamil and even Telugu versions. My favorite line is this

TAMIL :
“aaththigam paesum adiyaarkeLLaam sivamae anbaagum
aaththigam vaesum naLLavarukkoe anbae sivamaagum”

TELUGU: 

“Aastikulaina hitulandariki sivame satyamata
Naastikulaina Snehithulaku Satyame Sivamanta”

I like it in Telugu, the meaning is:

For all those good theists, god is truth
For all my atheist friends, truth is god

I being an atheist, I believe more in human values than in traditions and the abhorrent customs set by our predecessors. I neither value them nor follow them but yes surely, I have highest respect for humans and their peace and happiness.

Technically, editing should have been better and cinematography had a lot of scope but camera was used very miserly to enhance beauty of scenes. Nevertheless, since I first saw it. I keep visiting this movie very often (say 2 times a year) and will continue to do so.

It’s 4/5 for a movie rich in characters and philosophy and even subtle humour. Kudos, to Kamal Haasan, the genius who gave such a wonderful script along with Madan.