Sunday, 22 December 2013

Dhoom 3

Hrithik Roshan grabbed my attention from the moment he said “Game’s not over” in the teaser of Dhoom 2 and I went into the latest instalment of this action-packed franchise expecting nothing quite as special. So, in other words, I doubted Aamir Khan. I questioned what Vijay Krishna Acharya could bring to the table and to an extent, I was wrong.
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The film that is called Dhoom 3 featuring a star cast with music from Pritam and production from Yash Raj Films takes a very long time to get going; even longer than that sentence. The first hour of the movie was laughable. The overuse of slow motion was making me want to pull my hair, the story seemed irrelevant and the action scenes very awkward. Shooting out a zip wire and riding a motorbike on that wire just makes you wonder, who gives the green light for these moments? Not even the unbelievably sexy ‘Kamli’ track was enough to get me off my seat but then came ‘Malang’ and what followed after. With inspiration from a 2006 classic by Christopher Nolan, a twist in an otherwise generic storyline changed the entire outlook of Dhoom 3. Pieces of the puzzle that we didn’t even know were missing came together and the artist of that puzzle was Aamir Khan.

It’s honestly been said so many times but the man commonly referred to as ‘The Perfectionist’ has completely outdone himself here. The way he uses his body to communicate, his voice to disseminate and his eyes to shift from Sahir to… I won’t say much else. When I said I was wrong to an extent, I meant when I doubted Aamir. People will naturally compare the three but Hrithik Roshan and John Abraham fit into a completely different world of performance to that of Mr Khan’s. Whilst the former stars delivered on tough physique, great hairstyles and intimidating presence, Aamir purely acts. On Koffee with Karan recently, he says “I’m not saying I’m perfect. I’m still working on that” and of course he’s talking about himself as a person. However, I’m adamant that he has achieved near-perfect achievements as an actor.

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So just the way this review has been structured, Dhoom 3 starts slow and works its way up because of the brilliant of its lead actor. The rest of the guys contribute accordingly. Abhishek Bachchan is solid, Uday Chopra tries hard, Jackie Shroff does well and the child artist, Siddarth Nigam, is excellent. Katrina Kaif has nowhere near enough scope in the movie but I’m glad she was around for ‘Kamli’. If you’re not swept away by her dancing in this song, you’re not worthy of having an opinion on it. I think Vijay Krishna Acharya could have really done with tightening the script in the first half. Dhoom 3 desperately misses the action and VFX that was seen in Krrish 3. As for the future, I can only see Ranbir Kapoor taking the franchise further and we’re presuming 2016/17 but that’s a conversation for another day/month/year.

But to sum up, Aamir Khan is world class.

£££ 1/2 

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

The Truman Show

Released in 1999, the story of Truman Burbank and his utopian life is one that remains highly relevant till this day. Up until a few years ago, I used to walk out of the house thinking I was being watched. Whether I was sitting on a completely empty train, walking through a crowd or sitting in a class, I was convinced that I was being judged and analysed from somewhere, somehow. The Truman Show captures that feeling and nails it exactly. Except, Truman is actually being watched, by millions, and his life is being portrayed as a Television show worldwide.

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When you’re sitting in your Literature class and your teachers pulls out an old Shakespeare text and says that Shakespeare used a metaphor to present this and this simile means that; and you just wonder, really? Did Shakespeare really intend for all of these hidden meanings behind his writing? Andrew Niccol’s screenplay is similar in that I’m certain he didn’t intend to write an original piece that would 1) predict the nature of Reality TV, 2) present an illusion that would confirm the common feeling of being watched [such as mine above], 3) show the frailties of existence, 4) portray the weirdest form of voyeurism, 5) place a God-like character (Christof) as the antagonist and many more aspects of the writing that were analysed by critics, academics and audiences post-release. I’m glad I didn’t have to study this movie and I really think that they should take it away from all academic syllabuses. The Truman Show is a joyous story, a satirical comment on the over-analytical nature of the human being. To force the story on educational papers would snatch the luxury of making your own judgement on the movie. Instead, you’ll think what the academics and the teacher thinks.

Jim Carrey delivers his greatest act in a role that seems curated for him only. I truly enjoyed the [literally] supporting cast and their contributions. Truman’s best friend is a beautiful liar, his wife is an imperfect actress, and the people he bumps into every single day do a consistent job of being repetitive. The scene where his father returns is amazingly fake but still manages to hit an emotional nerve due to the background music, the camera angles and the honest acting from Carrey; what an awkward scene. Ed Harris is close to stealing the show with his sure and stern portrayal of Christof. His justification during the interview scene is admirable. The comparisons of Christof to Christ are a little bit much but I respect whoever concluded that and I’m sure the makers of the movie would appreciate it too. Conclude of it what you want. Give your own take on what the makers intended but make sure you remain open enough to truly enjoy this masterpiece, which lives as one of the greatest movies ever made.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

The Evacuee

Neil sent me to watch The Evacuee at The Chelsea Theatre last night. It has a short run but Quint-Essential have done a great job with it and have proven themselves as masters in the theatre-horror genre. Can't wait to see what they have next year.

There's still time to book and I'm very sure they have tickets on the door so have a look at my review and check out the show before it finishes its run.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Krrish 3 (Movie Review)

The Sci-Fi superhero genre remains a heavily shaded one in Bollywood. We’ve seen sincere attempts made and some laughable ones. The latest to provide some light comes in the follow up of Rakesh Roshan's beloved invention, Krrish; undoubtedly the only superhero that has managed to connect with the Indian audience and create a sense of hysteria similar to Batman, Superman and Spiderman. I read somewhere that Rakesh had to delay his development of the sequel after watching James Cameron’s Avatar. Krrish 3 comes at a time where expectations are sky-high following recent Hollywood greats such as The Dark Knight Rises, Man of Steel and Avengers Assemble. Whilst there are too many blips to just ignore, Krrish 3 is a great statement piece to present on an international level.

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The story flows very well from its predecessor and the inclusion of Rohit Mehra is natural. Not to mention very charming. The movie takes a long time to get going in order to create context in the clearest way possible. A set of antagonistic mutants lead and controlled by the intimidatingly dark Kaal aim to spread pain across the nation. Until they collide with the father-son combination that quietly protect their city from evil like Batman. An open battle with references to animals, gods and legends makes the story very engaging and that’s a huge part of the process ticked off. To compliment further, Red Chillies VFX – who have outdone themselves in every way – provide Bollywood’s most decorated answer to the Hollywood examples listed above. The scene where Hrithik stops a plane and an introduction into Kaal’s kayanat (universe) are just mere glimpses. The second-half is packed full of excellent visuals and the theatrical trailer just did not do it any justice. I went in expecting an improvement, but I left with amazement.

What I cannot comprehend is how immaturely placed the marketing of Krrish 3 is throughout the movie. Thanks: I will definitely be sure to check out Mcdonald's, Subway, Bollywood Hungama, that watch brand, the trainers and everything else that was conspicuous. Speaking of immaturity, the character of Krishna is the same height, has the same hair and the same figure as Krrish the superhero. Even Hannah Montana had a wig. Surely some difference in the two would have been wise and diminish the popular opinion that Indian audiences lack sense. Lastly, I felt the mutants should have had some limit or stipulation to delve deeper into their powers.  Such as Kaya who has probably got the best power in the whole story. As expected, the music isn't good. 

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There are many things that contribute to making Krrish 3 what it is. On top of the tree stands the hero himself, Hrithik Roshan. He’s excellent as Rohit, and powerful as Krrish. The emotion in his eyes, his veins and his dialogue are excellent and he’s in the greatest shape he’s ever been in- imagine! Kangna looks very hot as Kaya and is as seductive as Catwoman. She deserved more scope in her major contribution at the end but throughout the movie, she was excellent and intimidating. Priyanka Chopra does very well and is actually useful this time as opposed to last time. Vivek was decent in his role, but I feel “meh” about Kaal. The twist in his story was well-executed and the handicapped nature was a good start. Overall however, he just wasn’t intimidating enough; especially compared to Arjun Rampal’s Ra-One.

The movie works and I hope it’ll convince some of the major production houses to invest into a new story, with a new star. The VFX is certainly most ready and it’s time for another actor to show that Bollywood has more than just one hope. Yeah, there are some annoying flaws that the westernised audience won’t take well. But regardless, Hrithik and his father should be lauded for their efforts. My 6 year old nephew left the cinema hall chanting “Krrish, Krrish, Krrish” and that’s probably the best result that Krrish 3 has produced.

£££ ½

Saturday, 26 October 2013

The Djinns of Eidgah

Coming from an Islamic background, I was intrigued to see how Abhishek Majumdar – a rising Indian playwright – would portray the Islamic legend of the djinn as well as the political rivalry between India and Pakistan. Coming from a theatre background, I was really intrigued to see how it would unfold in front of a Western audience. Whilst The Djinns of Eidgah fails due to a lack authenticity and clarity, it does a good job of educating and informing and is worthy of its place at the Royal Court.

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The story follows the journey of Kashmiri siblings Ashrafi and Bilal, whom are struck in the middle of political violence between Hindu and Muslims in the Kashmir area. Ashrafi’s mental state means that she often falls into a world where she communicates – or thinks she does – with the djinns of those that have passed her in life. Bilal has a dream of becoming a hugely famous footballer but is held back by his sister’s condition as well as his political agenda. Dr Baig is Ashrafi’s psychiatrist and is an adamant, arrogant and absorbing character to say the least; his son died fighting in the violence and it’s a fact that he’s not quite ready to acknowledge or accept. In amidst the action, two Indian police officers offer a unique perspective to the violence. Are you confused? I was.

By the end however, Majumdar has done enough for the audience to engage with the action and sympathise with the characters. The large scale of the on-going Kashmiri conflict affects every single character in the piece and they all chase some form of freedom throughout the story. Tom Scutt’s design creates a real sense of claustrophobia at the Jerwood Upstairs; jumping from spiritual sequences to Kashmir ones in a very simple and constructed manner. The stars of the show are the Indian police officers, played by Jaz Deol and Paul Bazely, whom provide light relief [initially] to an otherwise seriously written piece. Director Richard Twyman handles t
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he subjects well and his actors portray their characters with great sincerity. The entire cast were equally as powerful and I could not pick a fault in any of their acts. Danny Ashok (Bilal), Ameet Chana (Mushtaq) and Raj Bajaj (Khaled) work great with one another. Their invisible football sequence was clever and well performed.

The play ought to have remained consistent with its Islamic references and originality. During the dream sequence in Dr Baig’s head, Ashrafi should not be coming out to pray in the same room as three men; whenever the actors mention the name of Allah, they should be following up with “Subhana wa’tala”’; why is Bilal – a young Pakistani boy – dreaming of football and not cricket? Maybe my cultural background has had an effect here but I could clearly tell that this play has been written specifically for a Western audience. That being said, the recital of Surah Fatihah was spot on and it created a hauntingly eerie effect. The fact that some of the accounts were actual stories from a psychiatric ward in Srinigar is exciting. I wonder if there were enough accounts for a completely Verbatim approach here.

Michael Billington – sat next to me and fully focussed – admitted to not being to grasp all of the action in The Djinns of Eidgah and I would have to agree with him. However, a great cast on a smartly lit and designed stage work wonders in this piece. Grab yourself a £10 Monday ticket ( because every other performance has sold out in style.


Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Rap God

Guess who’s back? Back again.
Taken from Eminem FB page

No, I’m not speaking about my return to social media after around a month away. I’m speaking about Eminem, aka Slim Shady, aka Marshall Mathers, aka the f*cking Rap God. The reference to MMLP’s Remember Me in the bloody intro talks volumes about his intentions with this song and more importantly, with this album.

Let me make it clear that I don’t agree with the MMLP2 album title and the context. It’s like Sisqo announcing Thong Song 2; like Nas announcing Illmatic 2; like them Disney faggots announcing Lion King 2...hold on wait? In any case, after releasing and presenting a track list with the likes of Survival and Berzerk, I wasn’t too crazy or convinced. Furthermore, there’s no mention of a Dre feature or an official sequel to an MMLP track. The grace of that track list is the thought of Kendrick and Eminem murdering a track together and Em releasing a track by the name of Rap God.

It’s that old school Shady attitude that’s the standout aspect of this track. The I-don’t-give-a-fuck nature. He’s not really dissing individuals – yet – but he’s taking a dig at a whole industry as a whole. Better yet, he’s announcing himself as not only back in the game, but back to murder the game. I wonder if this was written before, during or after Kendrick’s Control verse. I wonder if Em was aware of Kendrick’s intentions on that verse and they spoke about the lack of competitions and true hip hop ego’s before they released the respective features. The flow that we missed and lyrics that we demanded have come in abundance in Rap God. There’s thought in almost every single bar and that’s real rap. Other than a bit of a generic chorus, there’s just fire in every line. I’m not fully convinced yet and I have to stress that but I’m impressed as hell at the fire he spat on this track. He’s been a rap god for as long as I’ve followed the game and it’s good to see him confirming that shit.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Deadline Day: Manchester United

If ever you wanted to compare football to theatre, then look no further than the deadline day. Yesterday was no different as fans of the Premier League were blessed with a day filled with footballing drama, shock and debates. Some clubs finish the transfer window highly satisfied; whilst others are have been highly let down.

I can’t help but feel that the let-down team – both to themselves and their supporters – is the team I follow so passionately. I understand that it’s a new era at Old Trafford and that as a United fan, I should be giving nothing but complete support and backing to our new manager. However, when you look at how United have gone about business in the last few weeks you’ll understand just why it’s become so frustrating to give that backing to David Moyes and – perhaps more importantly – Ed Woodward. The pointless pursuit of Fabregas who was neither for sale nor interested in considering offers from clubs; the senseless double bid for Fellaini and Baines considering both players have a respected value of their own; the childish deadline day chasing of Ander Herrera which was ultimately dismissed as “an unofficial bid”. A failed attempt to bring in Coentrao on a loan deal seems desperate, needy and lazy. Firstly, since when do United look to bring in s
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tar players on loan? The last loaned in player I remember is Henrik Larsson. Secondly, showing such a heightened interest to bring in Baines and Coentrao will do nothing but harm Patrice Evra’s morale. Evra – voted as United’s Man of the Match on the weekend – has to sit back and watch his place potentially in threat when it simply doesn’t have to be; a complete lack of respect for one of United’s noble servants of the last decade. To claim that the current squad are strong enough to compete and yet chase down players right up to the wire – the way I like to do on Football Manager 2013 – is a worrying contrast. Daniel Taylor rightly stated that Moyes was fooling no one when he was adamant that Man Utd had played great football in the 1-0 defeat to Liverpool. I’m very glad that we’ve bought in Fellaini who will add a great sense of physicality to an otherwise lacklustre centre midfield. His combination with Carrick and link up play with Van Persie is something I’m looking forward to greatly. However, why wait right until the deadline to offer the price that Everton were after? If Moyes and Ed were adamant on him, which they were, why not meet the release clause and get a better deal? Perhaps the addition of Marouane would have bolstered United’s chances against both Chelsea and Liverpool.
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I’m still a huge supporter of the Moyes regime and I’m not going to jump on the #MoyesOut bandwagon so soon. I’m fully convinced that our team ethic is a huge bonus that both Chelsea and Man City may struggle with in the latter stages of the season. You can’t forget that we still have RVP, Rooney up top followed by an in form Danny Welbeck and a consistently dangerous Javier Hernandez. Furthermore, the experience of Giggs, Carrick, Ferdinand, Vidic and luckily, Evra will prove decisive when the time comes to put in that extra foot to achieve results. My personal hope is that Nani finds his feet again to become a handful for defences and keepers alike. I can’t see much happening with Tom Cleverley and as much as I love his story, I think that he’s been given an opportunity too much to prove himself on a technical level. In all honestly, I think we’ll beat City to reach 2nd place but would do very, very well to beat Chelsea to retain our title.

Not only United, but Arsenal and Everton were victims of the deadline day drama and it just makes you wonder why. Why leave it so late to bring in a player like Ozil to your team? Why pile on that extra load of work upon yourselves and waste three key opening Premier League matches? There’s only so much I can say with the knowledge that I have but common sense prevails, it really does Here’s hoping that the sole signing of Fellaini is enough to outshine the likes of Jesus Navas, Fernandinho, Negredo, Willian, Eto’o, Soldado, Erikson, Lamela, Ozil and all the other top signings from top teams in the Premier League.

My theatrical version of Stan

My theatrical version of Stan