Saturday, 28 February 2015

Citizen Kane

Source: photobucket

This is an influenced and opinionated review because before I had seen this film, its reputation preceded it and so it was seen by me with with a legend-status in mind. If you are a serious cinema fan, there is no way that you have not heard of this film and know about the legacy it has left behind. Quite inarguably, the greatest film of cinema history, Citizen Kane stands as the benchmark of movie-making till this very date and would do so for years to come.

I have seen it twice, mainly because of two reasons- there is little chance that you would be satiated by the first viewing and secondly to actually compare the revolution in sound and visual effects it brought to the then film industry. To do that, I saw three Oscar-winning movies of around 1941 including " How Green Was My Valley" that beat Citizen Kane at the Oscars for Best Film (Outstanding Motion Picture i.e.). I saw them almost at a stretch, trying to get myself acquainted with the way films were made then. I am no expert at doing that but still, I found some remarkable differences in Citizen Kane.

It tells you, not a story, but about the seasons of a man's life, and not any man at that but Charles Foster Kane, a print tycoon and one of the richest men of America. "I expect to lose $1 million this year, I expect to lose $1 million next year.At the rate of $1 million a year...I’ll have to close this place in 60 years". But he doesn't care about it; maybe because he never earned it. Kane is not a hero, he never was one. And when a man as complex as him dies saying "Rosebud", the world tries to solve the mystery of his life based on the word. But will it be possible? Can it be possible?  “I don't think any word can explain a man's life” is what a man ends up with, after scratching all he could. Still, do we find a true meaning of it? Yes. Yes we do. And one might perhaps feel that it was a superficial one, but in reality, that's how life of people who have always had the world at their disposal is. 

There are magical moments in the film. There is an uninterrupted shot of Kane's election campaign with him standing, delivering a speech with his hands stretched out while speaking. It tells much about Kane, not to the reel audiences, but the real one. It tells that he believes in explaining himself to the world, in justifying his actions and the movie hence is about whether he feels content doing so. There is also a scene whereby a man addresses Kane's actions about making a singing star out of his wife -" You know what the headline was the day before the election? "Candidate Kane found in love nest with 'singer.'" He was going to take the quotes off the singer".

And the movie remains an attempt, a masterpiece of an attempt, showing through the world's eyes to the world how, life as we know it, can be deciphered but doing so may end sometimes in an anticlimax.

Citizen Kane taught cinema many lessons, but it taught the world a greater one. That a man is as good as his possessions; and his possessions are as good as his love for them. Citizen Kane had the world; but did he love it? Watch the film and try to answer.

Bandwidth Verdict: This blog is not worthy of passing a verdict on this movie. To know why, you will have to watch the film.                                                                                                                          

Friday, 27 February 2015


Too much of anything is good for nothing. As of this film, too much of sweetness causes Diabetes.

'Critical acclaim' is a phrase that seems to have been thrown around quite loosely these days and critics seem to be too affixed with films I prefer to call- "pretentiously good movies". Such films, as the terminology indicates, are deliberately made targeting audiences to feel like they are watching something great whereas what they are witnessing is cheap, colorful dramatization of thick, dark lives.

Barfi brings you Murphy(read Barfi), played by Ranbir Kapoor who is differently-abled but still believes in "living his life to the fullest". For reasons unknown, when an actor plays such roles, we superficially feel that he/she is acting really well and begin to shower him/her with accolades. And similar is the case of Priyanka Chopra, who plays Jhilmil, a special girl who is in the truest spirit of the title- 'Murphy's love interest'. And that is pretty much it; except for a suspense turn of events which is pretty good to watch.

And then there is Shruti, played by Ileana who is Murphy's first love, and who will go to all limits in order to ruin her life completely and be of no use to the outcome of the movie. But how elegantly her character has been carried by Ileana and directed by Anurag Basu that even with the two overly hyped protagonists in the scene, your eyes long for her being in the shot and the camera seems to glide on by itself to shoot her.

The fact that most of the comic scenes were adaptations of Keaton's work or the silent Hollywood comedies does not matter much to me because I don't really laugh at any of these. Why I did not find it as good as others is because it is very easy to portray lives of such people in a 'happy-go-lucky' manner and settle out things with shades of 'all is well'. In contrast, it takes courage to capture the inner psych of those people. Murphy is so happy, wow, Murphy is so sad, Oh...Murphy is doing comedy....Hahahahaaa....since when did good movie making start fooling people and charging them with quick ostensible emotions?

Films like this are shallow to say the least and if you try to find philosophies of life in them, it is high time that you grab a good book and read it.

Bandwidth Verdict: If you can watch and not get manipulated by cheap emotions, then very well watch it. Otherwise, browse on; there are many a good fish in the pond.

Thursday, 26 February 2015


Have you seen match 56 of the IPL-2014 played between Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals at Mumbai? Hailed by many as the greatest T-20 of all times, the match is remembered for how Rajasthan was a great team all along except for the last 20 minutes of the match and then it choked. Similar is the case with 'I'.
When I sat to watch it, I wanted to take it like a foreign language film and to do that I saw it in Tamil with English subtitles. I did not want the originality of the movie to get compromised by dubbings as I had great expectations from it. To tell you at the outset, 'I' is a tremendous movie. Just that, it loses the game in the last 20 minutes. There seems to be some affixation of our cinema with getting things the right way towards curtains. Still, I don't blame it because we are not judges of how things should have turned out in a particular film because a film is a story, a complete one and it asks you to take it unaltered.

Vikram who plays Lingesan (or Lee)  here has been a favorite for me ever since Aparichit. And he has surpassed his previous best performance with 'I'. With a non-linear story-line, the love and romance gone haywire tale of Lingesan has been put with almost an international finesse. Amy Jackson, one of the most beautiful upcoming actresses of India, plays the second wheel to him in her role of  Diya, a supermodel who he has a crush on. Jackson has been given considerable screen-time and not just a Katrina Kaifish role of flaunting herself for 20 minutes. That doesn't mean she doesn't flaunt; as a matter of fact, given her role, the director has shot some of the most stunning sequences of the beauty of a diva ever filmed in Indian Cinema. Given a premise as promising as this, the movie is about how the world betrays their love and how they fight back to save it.

As I don't understand Tamil, I can't tell much about the dialogue delivery but there is a sequence which I could not help but applaud where Diya starts falling in love with Lee and they have a sort of suburban trash talk. It comes near Intermission and steals the show.

There isn't much point in going about the technical details here except that the movie has some awesome shooting locales and pretty good CGI. The makeovers of actors are good to mediocre to bad. Much work has been done on the looks of the two protagonists and that pays dividends at large.

All in all, 'I' is a cool flick to watch and can be more so if when you watch it, you skip some useless scenes and essentially the last 10 minutes of the movie.

Bandwidth Verdict: Watch when you have nothing else to do. It's a Looong flick. 

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

The Reader

Plot Synopses are misleading and as of now, I am at a war with them. The Reader is the story of "an older woman younger man relationship set in post World War II Germany", or so I was told. But it gets better, far, far better.

The most magical thing about this movie is that nothing is magical about it. The characters within it are essentially the general breed of humans you find in everyday life. There is Hanna, portrayed with a breathtakingly beautiful finesse by Kate Winslet who has a secret she would rather die than to reveal to anyone. There is Michael, (Cross and Fiennes)  who falls for her but not necessarily in love with her. In the truly romantic part of their companionship, there is hardly any love; vulnerability yes but no love. "You don't matter enough to upset me", she tells him and for a large part of the truth, he doesn't. Why this relationship then? Because Michael is a teen and has dreams of a future ahead of him and because Hanna is a woman of 36 and has a past she does not want to dream of.

Stories like that don't last in reality and neither does this. But its echo does. Michael and Hanna put each other through inconsiderate pain, something that is as human as it gets. But they can not let go somehow and care for each other, again as human as it goes.

The movie is filled with some powerful scenes. The relationship of the two protagonists comprises of two things: the usual of course and the other most unusual. Hanna makes Michael read to her before they make love and the scenes comprise some of the most sensuous film-making you will ever find. And then there are numerous others but two in particular- Micheal meeting Hanna face-to-face after decades and the other where he meets a Jewish prison survivor. As the shot progresses in both, you know something utterly defining is about to come up. But it doesn't. You feel they will say some lines that will bring those moments of justification to all actions. But you don't get them. Those scenes are some of the most realistic portrayals of life-like situations you will ever see. The characters don't behave like heroes or heroines, they are the common person on the street, You, Me, Us. Maybe they want to say something intelligent, but they just cannot or choose not to.
        And this is why, 'The Reader' will always remain a story that is not fiction but pretty much all truth.

Bandwidth Verdict : Watch it now, and if you got space, keep a copy to revisit whenever you feel like having a solid dose of reality.

Sunday, 22 February 2015


When Braveheart was being shot, one of the film's weary extras reportedly mistook one of Gibson's children on the set for an errand boy, and asked him to bring a cup of tea. Gibson was within earshot, and nodded and whispered to his son, "Go get it." (Source: IMDB)

And Gibson is not just the lead actor in the movie; He is the Director as well as the Producer. This particular incident defines how Mel Gibson could pull this stunt off at his age and that too this convincingly. He plays William Wallace, a historic war hero of Scotland and you never ever question if he needs to be serious while doing so. He adds modern catchphrases and expressions to Wallace and you love it. Although the character development of Wallace could not really take place despite some attempts of a terrorizing past, the viewers can immediately develop a liking for the character; maybe because he is pretty much a practical hero or maybe just because he “kicks some serious ass” in the movie.

On a synoptic level, the movie covers a part history-part myth story of Scotland’s struggle for freedom under Wallace who badly hates Royalty primarily because they kill his lover/ secret wife. But you don’t really get the build-up to feel like the battles really matter so much in spite of it being a 3-hour flick. Maybe the writers just had too much to do. But while doing whatever they had to, they somewhat missed the essence of epic movie-making. The film does not provide the necessary wait during scenes for the situation to sink into the viewer. It simply keeps browsing through shots. For eg. The romance between Wallace and his ill-fated wife Murron does not get established enough so that the viewer comes to believe that her death could potentially give rise to a revolution.

The evil forces at play here, the king of England is dark and sinister as he needs to be and determined to keep alive the name of his dynasty in spite of a homosexual son. Thus, when these anti-polar forces clash, you need to be at the edge of your seats to witness it. It is no doubt an awesome movie with superb soundtrack and flamboyant battle sequences. Just that it is not a 'Lord of the rings' or 'Lawrence of Arabia'.           

Bandwidth Verdict- Watch this awesome (one time watch) movie in the best quality you can get 
                                       your hands on.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Grave of the Fireflies- The Greatest Saga of Human Emotions

I'm in tatters. I have just witnessed the most powerful emotional experience cinema can ever provide you and still I don't want you to see this film; not if you are human.
             "Grave of the fireflies" is pretty much the most profound saga of emotions I have ever seen in my life. In a review, I am supposed to give somewhat of a synopsis of the movie to the reader and then tell him/her of my views about it. But I am speechless. I don't know how I am typing these words on the screen in front of me and yet I am compelled to keep doing so. Sometimes one feels that things like this can only exist in literature or fiction but here I am, in truth, in reality, in the world I live and breathe every day in, and I am undergoing the same.
            And who am I to tell you about this movie? Would it help if I told you that war is hell and that it brings with it miseries that we cannot possibly fathom? Would it add anything to the infinite greatness of this movie if I were to tell you that it is a semi-autobiography? Would you prefer if I gave this movie a rating like all reviews do? I cannot rate it, you cannot rate it and any critic in the world cannot rate it. If you look out for this movie on the internet as to what it contains, you will get the words “a boy and his sister” and “second world war in Japan” carelessly thrown in. You will also know that it is an anime. But you will never know emotions that have been brought up with such peaceful intensity in the movie and I wish that you don’t either.

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