Curious Title..Brilliant Saif Ali Khan! Kaalakaandi is a bold movie showing three lives. Peddlers, users, & those caught in between.
Peddlers Deepak Dobriyal & Vijay Raaz plot to cheat their boss while sharing an insight into their eventless lives. We are shown the false lifestyle of the drug lords and mafia, their ego and their ruthless killings.
Seeing TV star & VJ Shenaz Treasurywala on screen after a long time. She is a delight as a user & has portrayed the role of a rich bitch very well.
Sobhita Dhulipala as her friend and someone caught up in a rave party raid has clear cut priorities of heading out of the country to pursue her dreams of an education abroad but gives in to guilt & confesses to the police by giving her flight a miss. Her whiny clingy boyfriend, Kunaal Roy Kapur has a small role but acts well as a heartless chap willing to cover up even death in an accident.
A bold sex scene between Amanda Rosario & Akshay Oberoi has been well shot and will be definitely edited for the theatre goers. The typical big fat Indian wedding has been shown well with hassled people, errands, & the sangeet adding a song or two that won’t be remembered for long though.
Saif Ali Khan facing the ultimate announcement of a life that’s soon going to end decides to tick off his bucket list in the most filmy fashion by wanting to see a transgender in the buff, try drugs, style his hair in the weird hairdo we saw in the trailer and kiss a stranger, Isha Talwar, whose calm presence leaves you wanting to know more about her.
The lucidity & electric psychoactivity of the small red pill have been shown way too temptingly. The warning in small print along the bottom of the screen against substance abuse is appropriate but not loud enough to dissuade any potential user.
Saif’s one liners are a delight but lose consistency while one gets a feeling the writer was trying to cram too many lives in one movie. Saif Ali Khan yoyos between fat & buff but is forgiven for taking up the challenge of going through half a movie with awful eye make up & multiple rubber bands in his hair.
The title “KaalaKaandi” meaning ‘Something’s Messed Up’ or rather ‘Kuchh Gadbad Hai’’ clearly fits! The movie is one of the few ‘black comedies’ of our Hindi film industry.
Neil McCauley: A guy told me one time, “Don’t let yourself get attached to anything you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you feel the heat around the corner.” Now, if you’re on me and you gotta move when I move, how do you expect to keep a… a marriage?
To be able to detach yourself from all the emotional strings attached when you see the heat coming around the corner is the discipline Neil McCauley (Robert DeNiro) follows to perform his job as an expert thief. This movie is an LA crime saga starring Al Pacino (Michael Hanna, the LAPD Police detective), Robert DeNiro (Neil McCauley, a professional criminal), Chris (Val Kilmer, another associate in Neil’s criminal gang). This is a superb cat and mouse chase between the intelligent cops and highly efficient criminals. The difference is that there is no mouse. Both are highly intelligent cats and are masters of their professions.
Heat Movie Story-line:
McCauley leads a gang of very efficient thieves who rob banks etc. They know their craft very well. In this gang there is no place for thoughtless, immature murderers. This alienates Waingro (played by Kevin Gage) from the gang, early in the movie. The camaraderie between the gang members is awesome. They really care for each other. All the characters in the movie are very well fleshed out. All of them including Chris’ wife Charlene (played by Ashley Judd) and Hanna’s wife (Lauren) played by Natalie Portman) are well aware of the realities of their life and know to express themselves well. In their own situations they can express their happiness and complaints. They talk…they communicate. Both the cops and the criminals (along with their wives) have no fancy illusions and are aware of the consequences of their actions. All this makes them the humans that they are…rather than portraying them as just means of to show a clichéd action packed drama.
Heat Movie Acting Review:
The characters of Al Pacino and Robert De Niro are very similar. Both are very good at what they do and know their craft well. Both do not know to do anything else other than what they are doing. Al doesn’t know anything else than being a good cop while DeNiro can’t do anything other than executing a good theft. Both can’t keep their women happy due to their nightmarish schedules and ‘living on the edge’ kinda existence. This similarity between them evokes a mutual respect for each other. More so from Al Pacino’s side. The scene where both confront each other over a cup of coffee is superb. Both know to answer each other and there you feel the ‘HEAT’ in the movie.
Chris (Val Kilmer) loves his wife Charlene too much to let her go. He will escape the cops but not without her. He does not care for the 30 secs principle. And this love is what saves him eventually. Charlene who is fed up of his criminal ways saves him from the cop. Towards the end of the movie, McCauley (DeNiro) wants to settle one last score with Waingro. After that he would completely disappear from the crime scene with his girl. And that’s where he enters his doom. The plans go awry and when he sees heat around the corner, he does manage to say goodbye to his beloved within 30 seconds. What an irony…..Chris does not follow that principle of the crime world to say a goodbye to all his loved ones when he sees danger around the corner. But it’s exactly this his love that saves him. Where as McCauley sticks to his principles and meets the tragedy…
My verdict of Heat Movie:
This is what I feel about cinema in general-A movie might not always provide you with answers to your questions about life, existence, relationships, God, etc. The point is-does the film provoke you to ask ‘questions’? A good movie with its content, script, direction, acting, editing, music, etc., equips the viewer with a more thoughtful mind to be able to react in the right way to things happening around him.
Based on the 1974 flick of the same name, The Gambler is a story of a man who despite having everything has made a mess of his life.
Mark Wahlberg plays Jim Bennett, an Associate Professor of Literature and a gambling addict who is unable to leave this habit. Apparently, he comes from an affluent background and is the grandson of the 17th richest man of California. But, the problem with Jim is that he only sees life in two ways, either complete or incomplete.
Now coming to the plot, Jim has a large debt to pay to Lee (the casino owner). His trouble doubles up when he takes $50,000 from a loan shark (Baraka) and loses that money too in gambling. Lee gives him 7 days to return the money or face “consequences”. Jim tries to take help from his mother, Jessica Lange who refuses to help him saying that he already has brought so much bad name to the family.
But, later when threatened by the loan sharks she agrees to give Jim the required amount. He takes this money and goes to a casino in Las Vegas with his student Amy (Brie Larson) with whom he has developed a connection after saying to her that she is genius and needs to sit on the first bench in the classroom. Jim is not the types to go on the internet and search you can play online blackjack right now. He instead plays in the casino leaving Amy alone only for her to find out that he has lost the whole money there.
Now he has no choice but to manage his debt on his own and here the interesting part of the movie takes place. Baraka abducts Jim and beats him for his money to which Jim replies that he can’t give him any money. As a bargain Baraka asks him to convince his student Lamar (who wants to go to NBA but can’t) to win a college basketball game by a margin of 7 or less. Jim somehow manages to convince Lamar.
On the other hand, Jim also convinces another Loan Shark Frank (John Goodman) to give him $260,000 to pay his to Lee. Now he does a master stroke by putting a bet on the match from a casino in Las Vegas through another of his student named Dexter. After the match he gives Baraka’s money to him and calls Frank and Lee to come to a neutral underground club to take their money. Here, Jim for the last time in the money plays another gamble only to find himself at the winning side this time. He gives away all the money to Frank and Lee. He even declines to take the excess amount with him.
In the last scene Jim is seeing running alone and reaching the Amy’s place. This symbolically represents that he is ready for a settled life with love and has left his gambling habit forever.
My Verdict on The Gambler –
The film has some complex dialogues, good acting and straight forward screenplay. Many critics have rued this movie and are unimpressed by Mark Wahlberg’s acting. In my view the movie deserves 7 out of 10 from me. Although it is not a great movie to watch but, is still a good one time stuff, if you are a Mark Wahlberg fan. To me he has done full justice to his role and looked great in the role of a gambling addict.
Cast – Ulrich Mühe, Martina Gedeck, Sebastian Koch
Releasing Year – 2006
Das Leben der Anderen / The Lives of Others Review –
The year is 1984 (does that ring a bell?). A great wall divides East and West Germany. East Germany is GDR (German Democratic Republic), ruled by the socialists which also form the Stasi – the Ministry of State Security. It considers itself the ‘sword and the shield’ of the governing party.
Stasi keeps a close watch on everything. It is responsible for the behavior and actions of everyone living in the GDR. The citizens are strictly instructed to unquestioningly follow the laws, rules, and orders of the reigning Socialist Party. Not a soul is allowed to doubt any ideas of the party and any deviation in this is dealt with a ruthless prosecution. In that sense, the Stasi not only governs the land but it also controls the minds of every person residing there.
Freedom of expression holds no meaning under this dictatorship. Those not in tune with the ideas of GDR are punished. Artists(writers, actors, painters, etc.) lose their careers and right to live freely if they do not agree to the government policies. All the lawlessness, unfair dominance and injustice is swept under the carpet.
Anyone who is suspected to be guilty of disloyalty is secretly and intelligently surveilled by the Stasi. Those under suspicion are subjected to harrowing, inhuman interrogations. The State security has the right to install surveillance even of the most private matters of the people and carry out raids on slightest doubt. No allegations, not even trivial jokes against the State politicians are tolerated. A particular scene in the cafeteria where a junior officer casually jokes about the government speaks volumes about the constantly lingering fear in minds of the people. The viewer can feel the paranoia and the ever mounting pressure.
Under these circumstances, Hauptmann Gerd Wiesler (Ulrich Mühe) is ordered to closely monitor the day to day events in the lives of the famous playwright Georg Dreyman (Sebastian Koch) and his beautiful and talented actor girlfriend, Christa-Maria Sieland (Martina Gedeck) who are being suspected to be disloyal to the government. This onset a fast paced thriller with a befitting climax.
While doing his duty, Wiesler gets almost personally involved with the ideas and the feelings of Dreyman and his colleagues. He cleverly betrays his officers and risks his career and life to save Dreyman from punishment. In the process, Wiesler and his seniors discover the shrewd diplomacy and betrayal of a very powerful State Minister who foul plays for his personal pleasures.
The film is a very intense look at the conflict in the human mind when subjected to inhuman repression. It shows what happens to a man when he is not allowed to think and express freely. Political suppression can lead to grave consequences. The movie is a stunning and thought-provoking comment on anarchy and dictatorship. At its core, it reinforces that a human mind is and will always be ‘free’. Even in the confines of a prison, no one can take away your thoughts. The film also shows the complex dynamics of close interpersonal relations, under severe stress and pressure.
Being a film, the storyline reminded me of the imprisonment of the famous Iranian director Jafar Panahi. The Iranian government has banned him from writing, directing any film or giving any interview to Iranian or foreign media for next 20 years. He is currently serving his 6 years jail sentence. This suppression of freedom has provoked many eminent people from the film fraternity across the globe to stand up for Panahi since they believe that art of any form can never be suppressed.
In the movie, Wiesler forgets his job as a security officer and gets passionately involved in ‘the lives of the others’. Towards the end, in spite of all the deadly chaos around him, his sense of humanity prevails making him a hero in our minds. The Berlin Wall falls in 1989 and the story continues.
Injustice has had its way for years. But the human mind revolts. Because freedom is every man’s right. No one will ever be able to possess the human mind and this fact has proved itself in rebellion and uprisings against tyranny and injustice across the globe for many centuries now.
This movie won the Oscar for the Best Foreign Language Film in 2006.