I am not a Tamilian but I wish I knew Tamil language. The moment I came across Kaatru Veliyidai trailer, I felt a spark to watch the movie. Luckily, I found it on Amazon Prime and managed to watch it with English subtitles.
Kaatru Veliyidai means ’till the last breath’. The movie is set in Kashmir during the Kargil war of late 1990s, where Varun (Karthi), an Indian Air Force officer reminisces his love with Dr. Leela (Aditi Rao Hydari) as a prisoner is a Pakistani jail. Varun is young, charismatic, and wanna be Air Force pilot with a messed up childhood and emotional baggage of griefs, anguish, and self acknowledging fears.
Due to this he quits on people even before they quit on him. Dr. Leela is an astonishingly beautiful looking doctor who falls in love with Varun. They set on a picturesque journey of beautiful tale of love.
Acting, Direction and Music
The movie is directed, written, and produced by the famed Mani Ratnam and the music is composed by A.R. Rehman popularly called as the Mozart of Madras in the Southern film industry. Needless to say they are a brilliant combination. To my surprise, the movie had a Punjabi song as well.
Both Varun and Aditi will spell bound you with their on screen appearance and chemistry. They look so promising in their characters. Would recommend everyone to watch it for once.
Director Anurag Kashyap has drifted from Dark, Gaalis and Golis with the love triangle of Manmarziyaan.
Tapsee Pannu as Rummi, the hot headed kudi who manipulates her family constantly. She speaks volumes with her eyes, body language and vocals, engages you for all of the 157 mins. Vicky Kaushal as Vicky the DJ kills it with his muscular and juvenile irresponsible lover boy looks. Vicky jumps over across the rooftops to meet his lady love for some fierce love making. They crave sex.. ‘this isn’t love you idiots’, you want to yell. Shown well without being vulgar and bordering on intense, but just falling short of getting the A rating.
Enter Robbie, Abhishek Bachchan as the middle class banker from London seeking homely wife with his mother’s blessings. Expressive in his silence and blessed with patience and maturity to handle this bomb, Rummi He tolerates her rudeness, indecisiveness and supports her madness only because he has fallen in love. Even encourages her to think things through and discuss if she should walk out on her marriage to return to her boyfriend. You wonder if this is typical or is it just the reel world.
A better grip of Punjabi or even subtitles would surely have helped, especially to enjoy the 12 full bodied punju accented songs!
The star cast needs individual mention for each has emoted excellently but then my review will be as lengthy as the movie itself! Vikram Kochhar as Robbie’s bro and the dialogues with his parents are hilarious.
My Rating of Manmarziyaan Movie:
Kudos to the director and cameraman for the closeups of exhalation and vulnerability captured perfectly!
So why wouldn’t I give Manmarziyaan movie a 5 on 5? Cause it falls short on showing the emotions of the family at Rummi changing her mind twice about marriage, later no one helps them even try to reconcile, they just allow them to annul the marriage . There is no continuity in some scenes like the bags that return from London(when did they get sent). The talented dancing twins that pop up without context is a little ridiculous. Switching to animals mating rituals on TV is as bad as covering up sex scenes with flowers in old Bollywood movies.
Though what is sensitively shown is how Robbie takes off his pagdi for a smoke and respectfully picks up the roti that’s fallen on the floor. Rummi’s connection with her Grandfather and Vicky’s Father’s moral lecture to him when he is trying to break up a wedding has been handled well.
You come away from the movie wanting to legalise the marriageable age in India to a sensible 25 and above. Or allow marriage only when both the bride and groom are financially independent and can tell carnal pleasure from real emotions!
This is a movie about the sexual enslavement of women in a feudal system in China. It is about four mistresses living together. Their master lives in the central house and each of the four mistresses has a house of her own opening onto a central courtyard. The family is guarded by strict family customs and rules laid by the ancestors. According to the customs, red lanterns are lit in the quarter of the mistress with whom the master decides to spend the night.
This huge house is made up of high stone and brick walls and covers a massive area. It is a movie speaking about the almost inhuman male dominance in the society and the defiant Songlian (Gong Li) who marries into this house as the 4th mistress. Once a woman is married into this rich family, she cannot escape- come what may. Three mistresses are already living, sharing a very uneasy relationship with each other. The entry of the 4th mistress Songlian fuels this heated atmosphere and adds to the rivalries. The house overflows with luxury which is available to the mistresses (concubines-a woman cohabits with a man to whom she is not legally married, especially one regarded as socially or sexually subservient; mistress) but none has true freedom. Well, whats the use of a bath tub with candles and perfumes in a prison?
It is story of complete enslavement of women by their master under the effect of which the mistresses change their behaviour. The first mistress is old and has an adult son. She is the more experienced. The 2nd mistress, Zhuoya (who first appears to be very friendly and helping nature) and has a son. The 3rd mistress, Meishan used to be a good opera singer. She is young, beautiful and filled with jealouy. The 4th mistress , Songlian, the lead actress in the movie drops out of college after her father’s death and marries this rich master, succumbing to the pressure from her stepmother. There is a teenage servant, Yaner, who is the master’s favourite and aspires to be a mistress herself…someday.
Watch “Raise The Red Lantern Full Movie Below
Everybody in the family along with the servants mindlessly adhere to the family customs. It is clear that they do so, not out of will but due to the force of tradition and culture. A very good depiction of millions around the world, who never question our value system and customs and verify their correctness. What stops us from evolving? We are almost blinded by them.
The mistresses are not really happy and their whole existence revolves around- whom will the master favour. That’s their sole sense of achievement. And exactly this competition is what changes them at times to show their worst face. (Competition brings out the best and sometimes the worst out of people.)
Songlian soon learns that she is trapped behind the closed doors of the palatial house and those who seemed friendly are in fact plotting against her. This frustration of not being able to experience freedom along with the fierce competition to be the master’s favourite alters her behaviour in such a way that their personal dynamics changes into war.
The cinematography of the movie is beautiful with the ‘reds’ of the lit lanterns forming a lovely contrast against the grays and the blues of the palatial house. But there is something sinister about this redness. The deep reds evoke a feeling of danger telling us that all is not well in the house and add a passion to the whole drama. The ‘reds’ also express the fiercely burning passion, ugliness and jealousy in the minds and hearts of the mistresses.
All the drama takes place within the closed spaces of the tall, strong walls (there are some scenes in the open on the terrace of the house and they are beautifully pictured) . As a viewer at times you feel claustrophobic, gasping for fresh air. This is exactly how the mistresses feel in their own house which seems more like a big prison which they can free themselves from. The instrumental background score played while the lanterns are carried from one place to other is particularly befitting a thriller. This whole effect beautifully adds to the phobia and restlessness. The choir singing in high pitch is interimly used as background music and is very melancholy and haunting. It is beautifully crafted film.
The mistresses have to please their masters in bed and have to produce babies, especially a son to be an heir to the family. As the concubines express their reality of they being just animals and not human in the patriarchal society makes us sad and we get totally absorbed in their pathetic sate of existence. (Songlian ends up insane as she is unable to fight the inhumanity and is haunted by the guilt of her actions.)
The movie is about anarchy in a male dominated society and the results of it. But much more than that the movie has successfully initiated an argument in the superbly made 2hrs drama – We humans are always looking for dominance over each other. This chase of wanting to be on the top at times makes us lose our sense of well being and fairness. The four women knew they cannot escape. They could have come together to help each other and then may be they would have experienced a slightly happier life. But they chose to fight with each other(wrong choice) to vent out their frustrations and for dominance and power. I completely understand the frustrations of a woman living in a male dominated society. I have been there. And some might feel that expecting the four women to co-operate is probably asking for something superhuman. But I still feel they could have handled it better. Its only in terms of crisis and severe pressure that we human are capable of coming out with our best and to rise above trivials. The mistresses could have empathized but they chose to criticize. The film awesomely expresses that the whole helplessness of the human race of not being able to overcome jealously for a common good leads to tragic consequences for all. And after all that plotting against each other, does anybody really win? No…the anarchy continues. The 5th mistress arrives in the palace and the vicious circle moves on.
When there is too much ‘ME’, we not only lose the ‘WE’ but also destroy the ‘ME’.
Some days it is important to pen down your heart-wrenching feelings. Be it about a movie or book, feelings do come to you like waves. I am glad I am amongst those wonderful souls who happened to watch October movie. Words are not enough to define the human emotions I did experience while watching this masterpiece. What a surreal and subtle way of touching the strings of your heart? What a splendid way of portraying the real characters and opening the thread of relations one after another? I am not sure how one director or actor ends up in justifying the fit-to-role emotions perfectly from genesis till the end.
October 2018 Movie Review:
I was amazed by looking at the promo and trusted my hunch enough to watch it this weekend on the theater. I am writing this review with a heavy heart because this movie made me laugh out louder, took me to journey of friendship, taking me back to the road of love and finally disappearing in the face of the death, like everybody else disappears. I could relate it to more because somehow I was expecting this movie to be extra-ordinary. Varun Dhawan deserves a standing ovation for delivering such a powerful performance. His dialogue delivery and eye-to-eye meet expression made me believe actors like him do exist and they move people like me just being on the screen. I would applause every character as their emotions were so real and dialogues let you step into their shoes as if it was happening with one of you.
Some stories don’t start with an agenda nor do they end with one? October movie started on such a hilarious note and ends by leaving you teary-eyed. I feel like watching it again because it’s beyond the concept of usual love stories and dramatic family movie. It holds the truth which only few of us live and that’s “The power of being real and following your heart”, “The taste of courage which only few shows”, “The feelings which are hidden deep inside, yet you don’t forget to feel them”, “The people who you love the most and miss them while in pain or joy”, “The person who once left unannounced and never came back”. I believe it’s a plethora of emotions which you can only feel while watching and once you step out of the theater, it’s your heart you are going to feel the most inside your body.
I may someday, somehow, after gathering courage, would watch it again! It’s too heavy for me to go for next show again. I am going to let it sink in me completely.
Reviewed By: Gurpreet Dhariwal
About Gurpreet Dhariwal: I am a free soul who likes to write about anything under the skin of the sky. I always believed in myself knowing if you trust yourself, you can definitely aim for the sky. I am the courage that I seek in others no matter what!