A long rant about Gunday

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Gunday Poster

Gunday is the story of Bala (Arjun Kapoor) and Bikram (Ranveer Singh) who meet as orphaned children in a refugee camp in Bangladesh circa 1971. They get involved in the illegal gun trade, but when Bala shoots and kills a camp guard who was about to sexually assault Bikram they are forced to flee by train to Calcutta. Once there, they get jobs in a cafe but are soon fired and turn to stealing and selling coal. Ten years later, the now-adult Bala and Bikram kill the bandit at the head of the black market coal trade and take over his business. They expand into other areas of the black market and become Calcutta’s biggest gangsters, using their ill-gotten gains to open schools and hospitals. But the good times are interrupted by the arrival of two people in their lives: ACP Sarkar (Irrfan Khan) brought to Calcutta to bring down Bala and Bikram’s criminal empire, and cabaret dancer Nandita (Priyanka Chopra) with whom both young men “fall in love.”

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Hasee Toh Phasee

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hasee toh phasee parineeti chopra 01hasee toh phasee sidharth malhotra 01 Hasee Toh Phasee is the story of Nikhil (Sidharth Malhotra) who has been dating Karishma (Adah Sharma) for the last seven years. But on the eve of their wedding Karishma’s estranged sister Meeta (Parineeti Chopra) turns up, and while they spend time together over the next seven days, the feelings that blossom between Nikhil and Meeta become impossible to ignore.

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One By Two

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one-by-two-movie-posterI’m a big fan of Abhay Deol so I was very disappointed when January 31 rolled around and there was no sign of his new movie One By Two at any of the usual movie theatres in Toronto. Then, on Saturday morning, I was checking my Facebook and came across an interesting and exciting message from Abhay Deol’s page – that One By Two was available to stream for those outside India and Nepal via Facebook. So on Saturday night I hunkered down with my laptop and paid my $4.99 USD ($5.66 CAD :P) for what was technically a 48-hour rental of the film. I wasn’t feeling very optimistic that the film would come with English subtitles – but it actually did!

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Dedh Ishqiya

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dedh-ishqiya-posterI know I watched Ishqiya – at the time I even wrote that I found it “entertaining” – but four years on I can’t remember anything about it. At the moment I can’t help but wonder if I should have re-watched it before watching its sequel, Dedh Ishqiya, and whether a re-watch would have helped me enjoy the sequel more. It was an okay one-time watch, but not something I think I will revisit.

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Adventures in Unsubtitled Movies ~ 1 (Nenokkadine)

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Sadly, unlike the majority of Hindi and Tamil films, Telugu films still tend to be released overseas without English subtitles. Then again, most typical Telugu masala films can be watching without subtitles and still more-or-less understood. However, 1 (Nenokkadine) is not a typical masala film. On the one hand, this is good. Good for Sukumar for trying something a little different (as he also did with Arya 2), and good for Mahesh Babu for supporting him. On the other hand, this is not so good for non-Telugu fans watching the film without subtitles and trying to figure out what the heck is going on.

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Biriyani

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biriyani-tamil-movie 02

Biriyani

noun

an Indian dish made with highly seasoned rice and meat, fish, or vegetables

origin

from Persian beryā(n) ‘fried, roasted’

Biriyani is the story of two friends, Sugan (Karthi) and Parasuram (Premgi Amaren, who has been in all five of director Venkat Prabhu’s film). They work, along with Sugan’s soon-to-be brother-in-law, for a company that sells farm equipment (I think? The showroom was full of tractors, anyway). The company is opening a new showroom in Ambur, so Sugan and Parasuram drive up there from Chennai. The guest of honour at the showroom opening is wildly successful businessman Varadharajan (Nassar) who takes a shine to Sugan. Sugan and Parasuram ditch a boring party following the opening and go in search of biriyani.

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Dhoom 3

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Dhoom3 03

They seem remarkably unconcerned that their limbs are on fire

Full disclosure: I am not a fan of the Dhoom movies. I haven’t even the first one, and the second one is on my list of “the worst movies I have ever seen in any language.” The only thing that compelled me to watch the third one is the fact that it was filmed in Chicago, a city I visited for the first time this summer and fell in love with immediately. And indeed the parts that were filmed in Chicago do make excellent use of that city’s unique architecture, public art, and waterways.

I wouldn't mind if this spawned a hundred imitations

I wouldn’t mind if this spawned a hundred imitations

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From the vault: Adventures in unsubtitled movies – Chennai edition

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We arrived in Chennai on December 18, 2012 to find the city plastered with posters for a film which, it turned out, had just opened the Friday before. Some of the posters featured a man with an elephant, while others featured the man under a basket with a woman in a yellow field. Luckily we had Dolce Namak‘s friend Mukundh with us, and he told us that the movie was called Kumki, that it was about an elephant trainer, and that it was the debut film of Vikram Prabhu – grandson of the legendary Tamil actor Sivaji Ganesan.

kumki 01Kumki 02I was intrigued by the subject matter of the film, which certainly seemed different from the usual Tamil masala, and I suppose I am also susceptible to advertising, because I decided I would go watch the film. Movie tickets in Tamil Nadu are regulated, which means they always cost 120 rupees no matter what movie you go to see, where, and at what time. As a result, for less than three Canadian dollars I went to a Thursday afternoon show at what is no doubt the fanciest movie theatre I have ever seen. Located on the top floor of the Express Avenue mall, it featured crystal chandeliers, red velvet panels on the wall, and large leather seats. The theatre was fancy – but it was also very loud, and very cold. I found myself wishing I had ear plugs and a blanket.

plush theatre

the appropriately named Plush movie theatre

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Shahid Kapoor Double Bill: Phata Poster Nikla Hero & R…Rajkumar

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Phata Poster Nikhla Hero was directed by Rajkumar Santoshi and is very similar in style and tone to his previous film, 2009’s Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani. Shahid is super cute in PPNH, displaying his gift for comedy and looking damn good in an expertly tailored police uniform. Ileana D’Cruz is the love interest and I’m afraid I don’t have much to say about her except that she looks really pretty. On the other hand, Padmini Kolhapure as Shahid’s mother really stood out for me. I thought she looked gorgeous – with her round face, tidy hair and saris, and minimal makeup she put me strongly in mind of a 1960s movie heroine. However, there is a lot of “Mama Drama” (to borrow a phrase) in the movie, so YMMV. The songs are good, it’s always nice to see Shahid do a little dancing, but they sometimes felt like pale imitations of APKGK‘s songs, and with only one exception I felt like they were awkwardly inserted into the movie. Bottom line: wholesome and gently entertaining.

phata poster nikhla hero 02

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Gori Tere Pyaar Mein!

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Gori Tere Pyaar Mein! is Imran Khan’s and Kareena Kapoor’s second film together after 2012’s exercise in wasted potential Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu. It turns out the structure of Gori Tere Pyaar Mein! is slightly more complicated than the trailer would have us believe. It begins with Sriram (Imran Khan) the second son of a Tamilian family that lives in Bangalore. Frustrated by his irresponsibility his parents decide that the best cure is to get him married. They introduce him to Vasudha (Shraddha Kapoor – looking gorgeous). She confides in him that she is already in love with someone else and asks him to turn down the proposal. But unable to face their families’ disappointment and possible anger, Sriram agrees to the marriage. In the lead up to their wedding he tells her about meeting, falling in love with, and eventually losing Dia, a Punjabi social worker (Kareena Kapoor). Listening to his story Vasudha realizes that Dia is the only person Sriram has ever and will ever love and she eventually convinces him to go after her. However, when he goes to Dia’s parents in Delhi he learns that she has gone to live in a remote village in Gujarat. He follows her there and the rest of the movie concerns Sriram trying to win Dia over again by helping her get a bridge built that will connect the inaccessible village to its surrounding area.

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