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Back when love was a compendium of silences and sighs,Devdas was an icon. These days,when it's more a matter of working off those pesky hormones as quickly as possible,the legendary lover is regarded as a champion loser.

Published:February 8, 2009 1:35 am

Delicious decay
Movie name: Dev D
Directed by:
Anurag Khasyap
Cast: Abhay Deol,Mahi GIll,Kalki,Dibyendu Bhattacharya
Showing at: E-Square,Inox,,City Pride Kothrud,City Pride Satara Road,Mangala,Gold Big Cinemas Kalayanigar,Big Cinemas,Fame Akurdi
Back when love was a compendium of silences and sighs,Devdas was an icon. These days,when it’s more a matter of working off those pesky hormones as quickly as possible,the legendary lover is regarded as a champion loser.
In Dev.D,Anurag Kashyap and Abhay Deol dust him off and resurrect him,making of him just another guy who goes at romance with all the arrogance and prickliness and insecurities of a young man. Recognise yourself in him? Dev’s (Abhay) childhood sweetheart Paro (Mahie Gill) has all of these qualities,tempered by the essential female-ness of her. When,in a fit of jealous pique,he throws her off,she doesn’t beg or grovel: she turns her back on him,too. Recognise yourself in her?
The film invites you to come along on a stunning multi-layered journey—the psychedelic contours of the overloaded-on-substance,on-the-verge-of-losing-it mind,the physical degradation of the body,the slow dissolution of the spirit. With Anurag and Abhay,(whose idea it was in the first place),Dev.D becomes one of those rare films which is all of a piece: Every single frame is where it should be. As Dev and Paro part ways,Chanda aka Chandramukhi (Kalki Koechlin) enters the equation,and the film steadies into its triangular groove,rocking to an inverted,just-right climax.
In this virtuoso re-working of the Devdas story,there’s none of the obfuscatory self-indulgence that marred Kashyap’s last outing,No Smoking. The casat is perfect for their parts. Debutante Mahie is no Bollywoodised phoolkari-dupatta-wearing ingenue: She dresses,moves and behaves like a feisty girl who’s been born and brought up in sugarcane country in rural Punjab. The other first-timer,Kalki,is astonishingly apt too: her journey from a traumatised schoolgirl (based on the MMS scandal emanating from one of Delhi’s top schools a few years ago) to a role-playing,phone sex-worker Chanda,is riveting. The first is raw and sensuous,the other raises the lust-metre as high as any red-blooded male can handle,but both are heart-stoppingly,blatantly alive,needy,looking-for-love-with-sex-as-a-by-product real girl-women.
But it is Abhay who makes this thing sing. His Devdas is both eerily similar to the others who’ve played the part (Kashyap cheekily references posters and scenes from SRK’s Devdas in a couple of scenes),as well as completely his own. Spoilt rich brat,king-of-the-castle,centre-of-the-universe,the kind of male who is always so sorry for himself,that he can’t see anyone else as clearly. Right from the attire-jeans,tees,strap-across-the-chest-bag—to the attitude-love me,love me,love me- this joint-rolling,alcohol-swilling (‘Coke,vodka ke saath’,is his line in seedy bars) Devdas wears his victim-hood with panache,blaming others for the ’emosional atyachaar’ (one of the 18 sparkling songs Amit Trivedi and Amitabh Bhattacharya have created for the film. Sometimes the film seems too stuffed with the background music,but that’s a very minor quibble) being wrecked upon him,but reserving the right to a chuckle in the middle of it all.
Dissolution,despair,and redemption—the film unerringly hits all the right notes of a life sliding down the precipice,teetering on the edge,and drawing back from the brink,at the very last moment. Dev.D is a contemporary classic. Watch it,whatever else you do.

A dull daydream
Movie name:
Mere Khwabon Mein Jo Aaye
Directed By: Madhureeta Anand
Cast: Randeep Hooda ,Raima Sen ,Arbaaz Khan
Showing At: E-Square,Inox,,City Pride Kothrud,City Pride Satara Road,Mangala,Gold Big Cinemas Kalayanigar,Big Cinemas,Fame Akurdi
SOMETIMES fantasies are better than the real thing. That’s what Mere Khwabon Mein Jo Aaye is based on,with the male lead being a figment of the heroine’s imagination. Good idea,bad execution: Clearly,debutant director Madhureeta Anand didn’t quite know how to build on its premise.
Sad housewife Maya (Raima Sen) wants to break free. Boorish husband (Arbaaz Khan) growls at her,treating her worse than a house-maid. Like all sensible wives,she switches off,retreating into the arms of good-looking fantasy-figure Jai (Randeep Hooda). And then,just when Maya’s near-forgotten talent as a warbler is about to rescue her,her ogre spouse gets in the way.
This could have been a nice,light-hearted lark. What we get instead is a lost opportunity,top-lining Arbaaz who doesn’t get to crack a single smile,Raima who tries very hard to rise above the script,and major irritant Randeep,who changes costumes and strikes poses.

Better get lost
Movie name:
Chal Chala Chal
Directed By: Rajiv Kumar
Cast: Govinda,Murli Sharma,Reema Sen ,Rajpal Yadav,Om Puri,Asrani,Manoj Joshi,Upasna Singh,Amita Nangia,Razzak Khan,Asif Basra
Showing at: E-Square,Inox,,City Pride Kothrud,City Pride Satara Road,Mangala,Gold Big Cinemas Kalayanigar,Big Cinemas,Fame Akurdi
OKAY,here’s a question. If a film offers you Govinda,Rajpal Yadav,Om Puri and Asrani,what would you expect? At the very least,at least ONE sequence that can make you laugh.
We regret to inform you that T K Rajeevkumar’s Chal Chala Chal,a monstrosity featuring a bus,a simpleton,and a bunch of greedy guys,has not one,repeat not one single funny moment. Sure,Govinda is on screen all the time.
Rajpal shows up once in a while. So do Asrani and Om. On their good days,each of these worthies has been known to create rolling-on-the-floor kind of laughter: this is way beyond bad.
We refuse to tell you anything more on the grounds that it will be hurtful to your reviewer’s health.

SHUBHRA GUPTA

Family ties
Movie name:
Marley & Me
Directed By: David Frankel
Cast: Jennifer Aniston,Owen Wilson,Almudena Alcazar
Showing at: E-Square,Inox,,City Pride Kothrud,Gold Big Cinemas,Victory Camp
HERE’S a film that makes you realise how little it is that we see one of its kind—a film where ordinary people live ordinary lives,with ordinary problems and find ordinary solutions. Where 13 years go by and all that changes in the lives of John Grogan,his wife and their dog is the size of their family. It’s not exciting,but it’s life. It’s not much of a tale,but that doesn’t make it less of a story.
What holds it together is a Labrador Retriever named Marley,after the singer. Director David Frankel sticks to a bestselling autographical book by John Grogan of the same name to make him the centre of this family’s story.
John (Owen Wilson) and Jenny (Jennifer Aniston) bring him in as a pup basically to cement their marriage as a serious relationship. Endlessly energetic and ravenous,he is hard to control and takes up all of their time. But before John and Jen realise this,he is filling in the gaps in their relationship so they never feel it. He fulfills Jen’s need for caring,and John’s need for a listening ear. Marley also prepares them to take the next step,of parenthood.
At times he is an over-bearing presence,butting in on their private moments,and sometimes he is exasperating. He is also horribly destructive,chewing up almost everything in sight. However,what’s a family without a few of those moments? Also,the film remembers that he is not a superhuman pet,just a dog. And what’s a dog without a few of those moments?
The real Grogan too wrote columns,like his character in the movie,based on real life and centred around Marley which became a huge hit with the readers. The book was a tribute to all that the dog taught and meant to him and his family. Watching the film,that’s evident.
While it may be a bit too stretched towards the end— especially the self-congratulatory tone for Grogan’s work as a journalist,and his bouts of self-pity at what could have been with his bachelor,hot-footing journalist friend — there’s no mistaking the love this family shares.
Wilson and Aniston too do a fine job of not overpowering the real hero of this story. While Wilson has always excelled at ordinary man roles and can pull off the corniest of situations with unusual ease,it’s Aniston who really surprises by keeping it plain and low,even a little shabby,unlike her glamorous persona.
One complaint though: why isn’t there more of Kathleen Turner? She makes a brief appearance as a dog trainer,but from her bark to her bite,is every bit worth it.

Ash of the monsters
Movie name:
Underworld: The Rise of the Lycans
Directed By: Patrick Tatopoulos
Cast: Rhona Mitra,Michael Sheen,Bill Nighy,Steven Mackintosh,Kevin Grevioux
Showing at: E- Square,Inox,Ciy Pride Kothrud,Gold Big Cinemas,Big Cinemas(Chinchwad),West End,Alka,Fame Akurdi,City Pride Satara rd (Hindi)
TRICKED out in leather and heavy metal hair,the British actor Michael Sheen takes a lively break from his usual high-crust duties to bring wit,actual acting and some unexpected musculature to the goth-horror flick Underworld: Rise of the Lycans. The film,a prehistory to the first two Underworld movies,rewinds time to when the werewolves,or Lycans,led by Lucian (Sheen),began rattling the chains clamped on them by their vampire masters,a louche crowd that answers to Viktor (Bill Nighy).

MANOHLA DARGIS/ NYT

Toddler’s training
Movie name:
The Ten Commandments
(Voices of Christian Slater,Alfred Molina,Ben Kingsley)
Directed By: Cecil B. DeMille
Showing at: E – Square,Inox,Big Cinemas
TELLING the story of the deliverance of Hebrews from Egypt to the Promised Land,this is Moses for Dummies. The Egyptians are all bad,snarling men,and God reveals Himself to Moses as an admonishing know-all who brooks little dissidence. The Hebrews,in contrast,just complain all the time and are unthankful of God’s benevolence. The result is that when God chances on them having a little fun after months walking through the hot desert,with some women covered in less than the usual long robes,He frowns. The dialogue is pedestrian and the animation uninteresting and stiff. Plus,the people look all the same.

SHALINI LANGER

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