Tuesday, January 12, 2010

3 Idiots

It's probably not very far-fetched to think of Raju Hirani with a wand, infusing his own peculiar brand of humor, cheer and charm into these stories where another director might have probably gone a different route (Farhan Akhtar and Shimit Amin come to mind, for instance). Although "3 Idiots" is not quite as charming as the "Munna-bhai" series, it is neverthless very enjoyable fare.

Aamir Khan acquits himself remarkably well as the college-goer (notwithstanding the rumors of air-brushing the wrinkles). Although he went a little overboard with the shuffling body language initially, it soon wore off and Aamir soon got into character as the "different" Rancho. However, this is probably the zillionth time Aamir has undertaken this character graph - the I-don't-care brat who slowly comes to terms with where he has gone wrong and straightens up (Jo Jeeta Wahi Sikandar, Ghulam, Dil Chahta Hai, Akele Hum Akele Tum etc). Neverthless, he never gives us the "seen-it-before" feel, and summons up a warm camaraderie with the rest of the college-going crowd.

Madhavan is as dependable as ever. He gets some of the best one-liners in the movie (the one after the child-birth scene is priceless). Sharman Joshi, funnily enough, does not get to flex his comical skills much (I thought he was unbeliebably funny in RDB). However, he shone in the "interview sequence". The actor who played Chatur was the best of the lot - he was just spot on. Kareena had nothing much to do. Boman Irani was, quite frankly, a major disappointment - this is a performance unbecoming of his talent.

In the end, this is completely a director's movie (unlike a "Ghajini", where it was the stars who moved the movie forward). There were some superb directorial flourishes - the whole sequence with Sharman's parents was very well conceived; without resorting to the typical cliche, the point was made, and with humor too. Chatur's "balatkaar" speech, the re-union scene, and the many one-liners scattered throughout the movie ensured that there was barely a dull moment.

However, there were quite a few "boring" sessions as well - most of the songs were not required. Sharman awakening from the coma took quite a bit of screen time - this is a flashback, and we have already seen Sharman hale 'n' hearty, for chrissakes! The birth scene, while a nice high-point in the flow of the story that finally showcases Rancho's inventiveness, went on for too long - and the "all is best" motto was downright stupid.

However, all said, this was leagues above the regular stuff that Bollywood turns out. - extremely enjoyable movie.

Back Again

I am back after a brief hiatus, and I hope that I will be able to do justice to this blog. I know that I have been guilty of ignoring this space for the last 6 months or so - all I can say is that I will try my best not to let this happen again.

The last 6 months have been a whirlwind of activity. In fact, it feels like the whole of 2009 has been pretty much so.

In March, my wife and I had our baby daughter Medha. Of course, with the delivery being in the US, much ado was made about every single thing - Lamaze, names, tags, baby seats and what not. With me wise-cracking about the baby's hearing abilities after birth (she never cried even when an alarm bell clanged right next to her, and my family is notoriously semi-deaf) and her then failing a "hearing test" at the hospital (she wanted to give us a brief scare, I guess!), and then the cops pulling me down while taking the baby home from hospital (after all those Grisham and Steve Martini potboilers, I finally got to see a US courtroom first-hand!), March was downright crazy.

In July, we relocated to Chennai, India. Between packing, throwing away stuff and airline restrictions, it feels as if we threw away enough stuff to furnish a new house. A lot of people asked me about adjustment problems - strangely enough, we did not many (except that I miss the weather!! Christ, its hot!). We are pretty much well settled now, with regular work schedule and all that (not much of a schedule, working all the time!). With the baby, its been difficult to catch up with many movies - have started going out to movies again just recently.

What I miss most are libraries and books - its been ages since I discovered a new author or a good book. I checked out a couple of online libraries at Chennai, however either their book collections are not impressive enough (as my wife quips, its pretty hard to have a book collection that satiates me), or they have delivery problems - not within city limits and all that. The nearest library is around 8 10kms away - at my reading speeds, I am still in two minds whether to join up or not.

We are now trying to buy a flat - staying in a rented apartment has its limitations. Negotiations with Arihant are almost through, and hopefully things will work out.

So thats most of my updates over the last few months. Now let's get onto business as usual.