Friday, February 28, 2014

Shyam Benegal Back on TV After 25 Years with a Mini-Series Produced by Rajya Sabha Television

Shyam Benegal Back on TV After 25 Years with a Mini-Series Produced by Rajya Sabha Television

~ ’SAMVIDHAAN – The Making of the Constitution of India’ is a 10 part mini- series ~
~ Starts March 2, 2014, Every Sunday at 10AM and Repeat Telecast at10PM ~
Displaying Neeraj Kabi, Sachin Khedekar, Divya Dutta, Rajeshwari Sachdev, Shyam Benegal, Rajit Kapur, Gurdeep Singh Sappal, Dalip Tahil, Utkarsh Majumdar and Ila Arun at Press Screening of Samvidhaan.jpg
Mumbai, March 2014: One of the India’s most prolific and awarded filmmakers Shyam Benegal is back on Television, 25 years after his landmark TV Series ‘Bharat Ek Khoj’. Samvidhaan – The Making of the Constitution of India is a 10 part mini-series produced by Rajya Sabha Television and directed by Shyam Benegal. The series goes on air beginning March 2 at 10AM with a repeat telecast at 10PM every Sunday on RajyaSabha TV.

Written by Shama Zaidi and Atul Tiwari from a concept by Rajya Sabha Television, the series stars Sachin Khedekar as Dr B R Ambedkar, Neeraj Kabi asMahatma Gandhi, Dalip Tahil as Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Utkarsh Majumdar as Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Rajendra Gupta as Dr Rajendra Prasad, Tom Alter as Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Rajeshwari Sachdev asRajkumari Amrit Kaur, Narendra Jha as Qaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Divya Dutta as Shrimati Purnima Benerji and Ila Arun asHansa Mehta among 150 others in the series.

Displaying Rajeshwari Sachdev, Swara Bhaskar, Divya Dutta and Ila Arun at the Press Screening of Samvidhaan.jpg

Shyam Benegal says, “The making of India’s Constitution is an incredible story of almost impossible dimensions. It is a story of perennial relevance. I am fortunate to have got the chance to narrate this story for television.”
 “The story that is India and the story ‘of’ India and its birth has rarely been told. And the story of the birth of this rich and diverse country begins with the framing of our Constitution. At Rajya Sabha Television our endeavour is to create programs that document contemporary history of Independent India. ‘Samvidhaan’ (the making of the Constitution of India) was a natural progress in this journey,” says Gurdeep Singh Sappal, CEO Rajya Sabha Television, who has produced the series.

Displaying Shyam Benegal at Press Screening of Samvidhaan.jpg

After more than a year and a half of extensive research during which the writing also commenced, Samvidhaan went on the floor in August 2013. Over a 1000 people have been directly involved in the making of this serial and has 150 experienced film and television actors.

Anuradha, Hindi Bollywood Film Movie review, Johnson Thomas, Rating: *

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Anuradha(Hindi) Rating: * Making a virtue out of stupidity and naivete. This antiquated telly-tricked drama would have been a reject even in the 1940’s.

Hindi Film Review
Johnson Thomas

Film Review : Anuradha:  Dying for a reality Check!


Cast: Disha, Raju Mavani, Sachin Khedekar, Shagun, Smita Jayakar,  Aakash Sharma, Hrishita Bhatt, Kishori Sahane, Manoj Joshi, Prashant, Rahul Jain
Director: Raju Mavani
Rating: *

Hrishikesh Miukherjee’s 1960’s movie top-lining Balraj Sahni and the stunningly ethereal Leela Naidu with the same title, was a resounding treatise on society-way ahead of it’s times. This Raju Mavani directed ‘Anuradha’ while having no connection to the original, tries to be yet another febrile platitude to gender bias, and is way behind today’s times.
The story is something straight out of a sixties melodrama where the evil mother-in-law and sister-in-law combine to make life hell for the sweet, non-reactive, dutiful daughter-in-law. 
Rudra(Manoj Joshi) is a lion heart away from home but inside his house, he has absolutely no voice. Yet he decides on the comely daughter ,Anuradha (Disha), of his friend, Masterji(Sachin Khedekar), as the suitable bride for his son Avinash, from his dearly departed first wife. His second wife(Kishori Shahane) makes it clear in no uncertain terms that she will be the one to decide as before their marriage, he had committed to allow her free reign in every decision concerning their lives. Their daughter(Hrishita Bhatt) is allowed to go wild without any check on her.

Avinash decides to marry Anuradha and promises to be her bulwark but tragedy in the form of an accident makes Anuradha rather helpless. Her mother dies from the shock and Anuradha is given the reins of her in-laws property and money. A few outings with her childhood friend help label her a loose women. The rest of the film concentrates on nullifying that massive nlack mark on her pure as snow character!
This is a ludicrous story- one that will leave you wondering how anyone in this day and age could come up with such incredulous circumstance. It’s of course meant to be a social entertainer with a message. But the film has neither believable characters, plotline or engaging treatment to salvage it. The script is hopelessly out-dated and would not have found favor even in the 1940’s. The treatment(Raju Mavani’s helming) is so un-enticing that you feel completely enervated by the end of it all. The TV soap styled narration, the unpleasantly rendered music and the stiff as cardboard performances add more woes to the experience. There’s really no silver lining in this dark cloud!

 

Shaadi Ke Side Effects, Hindi Bollywood Film Movie review, Johnson Thomas, Rating: * * *

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Shaadi Ke side Effects(Hindi) Rating: * * * Laugh friendly for sure but nothing path-breaking. At the core are some done to death ,still laugh-worthy internet jokes about marriage and convincing performances by Vidya and Farhan.
                                         

Hindi Film Review
Johnson Thomas
Film Review: Shaadi ke Side Effects: Typically filmy, humorous but absurd take on marriage

Cast: Vidya Balan, Farhan Akhtar, Ram Kapoor and Vir Das
                           
Director: Saket Chaudhary 
Rating: *  *  *
It’s not a new take in any manner. We’ve seen so many Hollywood movies going through similar motions in order to spice-up a marriage and the jokes are all the kind that could well be downloaded from the Internet. So Ekta kapoor, Pritish Nandy and Saket Chaudhary’s brand extension to  Pritish Nandy communications’ surprise hit, ‘Pyar ke Side Effects’ is not exactly a novel experience even though it’s a fairly humorous one!
    

The basic inspiration stems from the 1988 John Hughes comedy, ‘She is having a baby,’ but while Saket’s film goes much beyond the birth of a child, the original ends at that event.  But Saket’s script for the film dioesn’t delve too deep into the psyche of a married couple. It prefers to draw out caricatures created from a series of dotted events in the life of a married man, albeit with convenient homilies on gender politics within the confines of a marriage. It’s wafer-thin enticement at best.

The star-cast is different- In fact,  a much more accomplished one. Vidya Balan and Farhan Akhtar as Trisha and Sid, make for a believable couple striving to make their marriage work. And it’s all credit to their individual talents. The segmented script which goes back and forth in time  in the first fifteen odd minutes, settles down into a steady enough rhythm. It almost appears as if you have a runaway laugh-riot on your hands- but pre-meditated pulls and breaks on the narrative foil the fun element, transforming the light-hearted entreaty into a laborious and tedium inducing one.
  Sid(Farhan) and Trisha(Vidya Balan) behave like new-found lovers who set-off sparks after a rendezvous in a bar. Both are married and talk about their respective spouses as the ones who are ruining their happiness. A few scenes later, prompted by a Hotel manager who takes them to task for their exhibitionism, the two reveal that they  are indeed married to each other and engage in such lurid fantasies in order to spice-up their marriage. Then comes the fly in the ointment- a child. Trisha is pregnant and Sid , the struggling musician is not too happy at the prospect of an added responsibility. Especially since Trisha is the family bread-earner. They convince themselves to go ahead with the birth and once the child comes into their lives, their love appears to have gone out of the window. Trisha is busy doing the right thing by her baby while Sid finds himself on the outside , looking in! 

The premise is quite believable but the treatment , set-up and exposition is not. Especially since we don’t exactly find out how the struggling musician earns money enough to spend for an expensive bike, fortnightly stays in a five-star or a PG- leave alone a well-dressed cultured ayah(a.k.a Bai played by Ila Arun-one who charges Rs.15,000, no less per month). Ram Kapoor assays the role of a two-faced informal marriage guru, Vir Das –a whacky, struggling model , Rati Agnihotri –Trisha’s always critical (of Sid) mother and Purab Kohli, the neighbor who looks more and more like the ideal husband and father for Sid’s family.

The script has other problems too. The husband-wife politicking looks overly exaggerated and the characters are never completely believable because they  yo-yo from one extreme to another. Especially that of the wife, who’d rather not believe ill of her husband who is living-up to all the signs of someone having an affair on the side. In fact the entire run of play is slanted towards making the women look and sound stupid and clueless. After all it’s Sid’s point of view. The narration is by Sid of course.  A Sid who strives to garner sympathy for all husbands with his woe-begone tale. One who makes his three year old daughter take a guided horse-ride on a busy main street and then forgets all about her(to the extent of even leaving her behind) while he gets caught-up in a soccer match on TV at a local cafĂ©.  He also gets his beer guzzling noisy friends home to watch a soccer match while his wife and kid are resting in the other room.

When the truth comes out and  that too towards the end, the wife is given the token right to put her hubby through the wringer before the inevitable happens.

The characters are likeable because of the talents of the actors in their skin. Both Vidya and Farhan perform with tangible sincerity and heart. The situations they grapple with, while not entirely outlandish, do appear far too exaggerated to be exactly believable. If spouses started critiquing every failing of their other halves then no marriage is likely to withstand that strain- Even with innovative methods of spicing-up coming into play. So don’t try to re-arrange your married life based on this one- Just go ahead and enjoy it!

Johnsont307@gmail.com

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Movies(Best Releases ) of the week/29thFeb2014/Johnson Thomas

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Movies(Best Releases ) of the week/29thFeb2014/Johnson Thomas

Picks and Piques/Snippet Film Reviews 29thFeb2014/Johnson Thomas

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Picks and Piques/Snippet Film Reviews 29thFeb2014/Johnson Thomas

 
Shaadi Ke side Effects(Hindi) Rating: * * * Laugh friendly for sure but nothing path-breaking. At the core are some done to death ,still laugh-worthy internet jokes about marriage and convincing performances by Vidya and Farhan.

Anuradha(Hindi) Rating: * Making a virtue out of stupidity and naivete. This antiquated telly-tricked drama would have been a reject even in the 1940’s.
 
Mr Peabody and Sherman(Animation/3D/English) Rating: *  *  *  Lucid, funny and immensely entertaining.
Non-Stop(English) Rating: *  *  * Old-fashioned Airport-styled thriller drama with a high on tension narrative.
Nebraska(English) Rating: * * * ½  Alexander Payne returns to his home state of Nebraska for his sixth directorial feature, a wistful ode to small-town Midwestern life and the quixotic dreams of stubborn old men.
Dallas Buyers Club:Rating: *  *  * ½  Enterprising even in the face of certain death, this film’s hero is a path-breaker in more terms than one. And lead Mathew Mc Connaughey takes performance to new heights.