IIM Calcutta


Muscle of Mumbai

by Pranava

I have watched, yet again on the plane, two movies about Mumbai, both about the muscle of Mumbai. One is about the immigrants who form a large part of the society and are the muscle of Mumbai. And the other is about the conflicts of men in mafia (supposed based on true story). One is an art film with outstanding actors produced by the National Film Development Corporation of India. And the other is a mainstream Bollywood Boxoffice hit produced by a rich daughter of an old time Bollywood actor.
Disha has Nana Patekar moving to Mumbai as an immigrant, living in terrible conditions, always wanting to go back to the village and yet stays on after he loses his wife’s loyalty. Om Puri plays a man who would never give up hope and sticks to the village in spite of terrible finances, proving that hard work and dedication will prevail in the end. Shabana Azmi plays a nagging wife, who acts tired of Om Puri’s never giving up attitude but loves him deeply and is proud of the same attitude. The plot unfolds delicately with the actors’ abilities rather than dialogues. It talks of the simple village life, its struggles, its malicious nature as well as protective nature and the male ego. A beautifully made movie! Yet, I would say it is only a onetime watch. But it stays with you for a while.

 Once Upon A Time in Mumbai has all the glitz and glamour of a mainstream Bollywood movie. It talks about the rise of a good-hearted, helper of the poor, mafia don played by Ajay Devagan who is shot dead by a dark character played by Emraan Hashmi whose main goal since childhood was to get the power, money and fame that comes from being a mafia don. The movie was well made keeping up to pace and makes for a good watch. Except that I do not like bad endings, this one is almost lame. But some say it is about some true story and I am not aware of it so I still feel it is a lame ending. Also, I thought both of the love stories were randomly put and sort of stupid. Everyone has to agree with me that Ajay Devagan and Kangana Raunat’s romance was outright nonsense. And Prachi Desai’s role was more like made for an award and all that. She apparently won a lot of Supporting Role awards even though I do not see how her role is in anyway supporting the film. Remove her from the movie and the story will not suffer. However, remove Emraan’s father, the sub-inspector and the narrative will suffer. He played his role perfectly. All in all it’s a onetime watch.


Dhobi Ghat – Mumbai Diaries

By Gurchetan

As the tag line suggests, Dhobi Ghat is a movie that records the events taking place in the lives of 4 protagonists from diverse strata of Mumbai’s society.

Dhobi Ghat

Arun, played by Aamir Khan, is a reclusive painter who gets his emotional fix from voyeuristically following the life of a newly wed Muslim girl (Yasmin, played superbly by Kriti Malhotra) who has just shifted to Mumbai with her husband. Arun moves into a new apartment that was previously occupied by Yasmin and her husband and happens to stumble upon her recorded videotapes, which contain a documentary of sorts about Yasmin’s life. She was filming them to send to her brother back home. The beauty and idiosyncrasies of Mumbai, as perceived by a new inhabitant of the city, are captured perfectly by Yasmin’s recordings.

No One Killed Jessica: A Review

By Shoaib
No One Killed Jessica
No One Killed Jessica, based on the much talked about Jessica Lall murder case stars Rani Mukherjee, Vidya Balan, new comer Myra Karn and a host of other actors in various supporting roles. Rajkumar Gupta’s latest brings back into the limelight, a case which captured the fancies of the media and the nation at large for a number of years.

Set in Delhi (reminded ad nauseum during the movie through an oft-repeated background score), the movie opens with the infamous event of bar tender Jessica Lall (Myra) getting shot by high profile politician’s son Manish Bharadwaj. Sabrina Lall (Vidya Balan) sets out to seek justice for her sister, only to be stalled in her efforts by powerful politicians, hostile witnesses and corrupt police officers. She is soon joined in her quest by hotshot, foul-mouth journalist Meera Gaity (Rani Mukherjee) and together they manage to arouse public outrage to the point where the administration gives in and justice is finally delivered.


Rajni’s evolution, an economic perspective

By Gokul B

This is not a review for Endhiran.

Well that doesn’t mean I won’t be talking about the movie. I would of course. But I would be talking of random aspects which I thought of at various points through the day, while watching it and while discussing about it. Reviews are but a way of either selling a movie or degrading it, and the former is not necessary for a Rajni movie while the latter would amount to blasphemy.

And also excuse me for the title. Being an MBA student, I am obliged to use terms like “economy”, “branding”, etc in whatever I write.
Murattu Kaalai
One thought which kept playing in my mind throughout the movie was the evolution of Rajni. My friends from the north keep asking me what’s the Rajni craze all about. Why does the man signify so much to his fans, much beyond what any star ever has. Well the answer I can think of is, the man has always portrayed what an ordinary man aspires to be. Rajni attained stardom playing Kaalaian in Murattu Kaalai, at a time when TN was primarily agrarian and people associated themselves with a lifestyle where the fields and the livestock played a huge part of their existence. At that time, for a man, the greatest glory possible could be to tame the wildest beast in the local Jallikattu. It would be his ultimate claim to fame in his small little world of village fairs and festival time games.

Peepli [Live] Revisited

By Pranava Boyidapu

The movie that was marketed incredibly for its satirical take on the plights of farmers!

I had high hopes. I walked into the theatre after reading a whole lot of reviews and they all said good things that are bad, like “..cuts deep and lets it bleed..” and someone who compared the Amma to the old lady in Pather Panchali.

From the beginning, the movie turned out to be an over the top comedy. If the press talking of Natha’s potty and trying to figure out his state of mind by the color of his potty is “satirical”, then probably the movie is a satire. But to me it was not.  I feel that the director took on more than she could handle; the satires on farmers, on the press and on the politicians.

Amma’s constant screams were a desperate attempt to bring in a believable atmosphere of a village setting. Rakesh witnessing the life and death of an old soil seller who literally dug his own grave was a weak attempt at a heart rendering story on the sidelines which is a requirement in a movie that claims to be heart rendering. Divya Dutta did a better job in ‘Delhi 6’. The climax of the press finding out Natha’s location and everyone running hither and thither reminded me of an old telugu comedy when everyone was running around an abandoned mansion in search of money at the movie’s climax.

Peepli [Live] is a startling example of what happens when someone tries to make a film for the film festivals and praise and neither for the love of film-making nor for the belief in the cause behind the story.

A few noteworthy characters:

  • Dhaniya, who very effectively handled her role and was the most believe character among all
  • Nasseruddin Shah as the agriculture minister , who with his charming self  can dodge any question with ease
  • The young officer, who wants to take some action and drops in on the secretary of agriculture every now and then
  • Nandita Malik, who was not too bad, though she tried to give a very impactful speech to rakesh and failed miserably
  • Rakesh, the young journalist who brought Natha to light and tried to react emotionally to the death of the soil seller (it was not his fault that the soil seller was not covered in reasonable detail for his death to strike the emotional cords of the viewers)

All in all it’s a one-time watch on a boring Saturday to make you laugh a little and doze off a bit in the middle, if you go with no expectations and if haven’t read any other reviews. In fact, may be after my review you might even like it. It’s all about expectations you see!

No Smoking

-A prize winning entry by Ramana Krishnan

“Nobody tells me what to do. Nobody tells me what to do.”

No Smoking starts off paraphrasing Aristotle, Plato, and Frank Sinatra. That, and what might easily be the most visually pleasing dream sequence in Hindi cinema give the viewer a peek into what to expect.

K., just K., as the protagonist would want us to believe, is more than just that. He is a character straight from Kafka’s set pieces; a character straight from a story of any struggle for individualism and freedom; a character straight from morally-policed India; a character straight from the field of arts and K., just K., probably is Kashyap, the writer-director himself.

K., a business man doing rather well for himself – at least professionally – is a heavy smoker, much to the dismay of his wife. Some marital discord, some emotional blackmail later, K. is packed off to what appears to be a boot camp straight from the Nazi era, only somewhere in the labyrinthine depths below Dharavi’s slums. The overlord of this otherworld, Shri Shri Prakash Guru Ghantal Baba Bangali Sealdahwale – whose dictatorial views and surveillance skills would make Hitler and Big Brother (from Orwell’s 1984) proud – warns K. of incremental punishments which would result in killing of his brother, cutting-off of his fingers, killing of his wife, and the ‘unspeakable punishment’ (Remember 1984?) for each instance of smoking. As the Baba’s methods get clearer and clearer to K. he realizes that the (Fincher-inspired?) Game he has stepped into which makes him question his sanity and the blurs boundary between the reality and his dreams (or nightmares!).

K. is defined by the quote at the start. He starts-off as the arrogant person who doesn’t let anybody dictate anything to him and ends up being a person forced (by family, by society, and by the authority) to stop what essentially defines him, and his consequent way of life. Ostensibly, everybody is out to help him ‘get rid of a bad habit’, but would he remain the same a person after changing? Would he not have ‘sold his soul’ due to the forced change?

Smoking might not be the best analogy of the artist’s right to creative pursuit, and the movie is such a personal reflection of the director, that he is caught showing-off too many times – be it in terms of the infinite homages to cult favourites, or the general abstractness of the movie which ends up showing a proverbial middle finger to the audience.

A one-of-a-kind movie in Hindi cinema, and fitting perfectly into the works of David Lynch or other such ‘abstract’ directors, this movie is a strong metaphorical work in defense of the artist who faces the censor board, or the moral police which takes out demonstrations for arbitrary hurting-the-sentiment-of-minority argument. Overall, the movie ends up leaving a strong taste in the mouth and depending upon the audience’s taste for self-indulgence, it might make for the best or the worst viewing.


It’s beautifully made.

The subtle humour.

The emotional surges.

The poetry and the young mind.

The little kid and his quiteness.

The small place called Jamshedpur.

The ‘Kanti Shah ke Angoor’

The friendship and tears.

The music.

The wisdom.

The memory.

But the climax of the movie wasn’t up to the mark of what it had set initially. He took flight but from what and to where? I waited patiently for a  conquered dream. I waited patiently for a future that takes to flight but with the feet firmly on the ground. Waited for a meaning to life and an inspiration. But a run away?