Monday, August 29, 2005

Thank You, Mr Kukunoor

Just saw Iqbal today. And loved it. Just loved it.

I walked in slightly skeptical – simply because NO Bollywood movie based on a sport has come even close to being impressive. (The last Hollywood flick involving a sport I’d seen was The Longest Yard and I thought it was really good).

The emotions, the dreams of a simple village boy are captured very beautifully indeed. Each character (there are very few of them, thus ensuring that the story doesn’t stray one bit) is very consistent, the acting is just appropriate. The relationships of the protagonist with his family and coach are depicted each with a distinctiveness of its own. Once again this year after Black, we have a winner where the central character doesn’t speak a word in the entire movie (okay, granted that Rani M did have a background narrative going in Black).

And the visuals. Ah, what pleasure. The cricket seems real, Iqbal’s bowling action is a visual treat (move over Shane Bond!) and the Ranji selections and matches seem really…well…real. The final scene with our hero walking out in Indian colours is one helluva heart-warmer.

Naseeruddin Shah’s performance makes you wonder why is this actor not seen more on the screen. Or maybe he gets offered a lot of stuff but turns it down – yep, that seems to make more sense. While on Naseer, it was in one of his earlier movies that I really enjoyed watching some cricket action. Way back in the 80s, he and Satish Shah had everyone in splits in Malamaal (Sunil Gavaskar actually descended to the ground in a chopper – would you believe it??)

Now I’m feeling like a real big loser – I can’t believe I haven’t seen any of Nagesh Kukunoor’s earlier movies. (Not only Kukunoor, I am pretty much a loser in this department – more on that later)!!

Saturday, August 20, 2005

I'm Back (so move over Arnie)!

Man, there's no feeling like the one you get when you take a prolonged (and much deserved?) break between jobs!! Although deep down I'm getting a feeling that perhaps this may be the only way to enjoy a decent holiday... (ouch!!)

Drove from Dehra Dun to Shimla. Amazing what a good monsoon can do to the landscape - I had no idea that the first half of the drive between Doon and Chandigarh was SO picturesque. Then, fulfilled a dream of riding the hill railway ALL the way down from Shimla to Kalka. Apart from the winding tracks and breathtaking views, what I found most appealing was how the stations on the way were miniature replicas of regular ones - bifurcating tracks, tiny platforms, signal posts... Hopefully will post pictures some time.

Last weekend movies: Madagascar and The Interpreter. Passable fare. I love animation and though I went to the latter looking forward to Nicole Kidman, it was Sean Penn who stole the show!

Finally was able to read some stuff as well. English August by Upmanyu Chatterjee was interesting, although the pace sometimes seemed a tad too slow (just like the town the book is based in); Vikas Swarup's 'Q & A' was absorbing - beautifully narrated in most parts. Inside The Kingdom by Carmen Bin Ladin somehow came across as an attempt to merely cash in on the hype generated by the author's surname, though the details of a woman's life in the Saudi Arabia of today were rather disturbing.

More on new job later.