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.

Sunday, 25 August 2013


Just four years between Neill Blomkamp’s incredible District 9 and his similarly structured Elysium. It’s tough to judge his latest venture without comparing it to the 2009 smash hit. You have the two contrasting worlds, the use of non-human characters and the brilliance that is Sharlto Copley. A small number of rich people live an idealistic lifestyle visibly far from Earth, where the not so rich people are overpopulating the land and struggling to get by. The story follows the journey of Max (Matt Damon) who’s about to die and needs to get to Elysium if he wants any chance of staying alive. Unfortunately, Max’s story is neither engaging nor exciting.

Elysium begins with few flashbacks of Max’s childhood, where he promises his girl-friend that one day he’ll take her to planet Utopia. It sets up a few dialogues that will predictably be used in the latter stages. However, not once throughout the body of the story does Blomkamp look to enhance this love story; with only some minor references made towards the climax. Max
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has a tragic accident at work and gets told that he has a few days to live. His motive is to get to Elysium and use their excellent healthcare to heal himself and that’s the story in a nutshell. The focus on Max took way too much away from the excellent potential that this movie had with it. Blomkamp said in an interview that Elysium is reflective of today’s human condition; but following the selfish journey of the central character makes no political references or comments on society. Unless he wants to say that every single one of us – rich and poor – are selfish people. In which case, it’s a poor comment to make. Some more background into how the two worlds separated from each other is beckoning at the earlier stages. Furthermore, why is Earth only filmed in one location? To portray overpopulation, wouldn’t it have been wise to make reference to more than one city, more than one country, more than one continent?

The scenes at Elysium were aesthetically beautiful and hats off to the designers who clearly had their work cut out. The action scenes were well choreographed. Jodie Foster was good as the intimidating defence secretary and Matt Damon give some heart to his unjust character. I’m disappointed with the use of Sharlto Copley. His excellent delivery and charming accent is made to look awkward when they turn him into a monster. Another problem is that none of the characters seem to be justified as to why they are the way they are.
Elysium fails terribly for three reasons: 1) the story of Max is a selfish one that isn’t engaging whatsoever, 2) there is too much going on that doesn’t matter with barely any real focus on the two worlds and 3) compared to District 9, it’s a million miles apart. At best, this is an okay popcorn entertainer with some excellent visuals. Otherwise a wasted opportunity to pull some political strings and provide a much needed Sci-Fi classic.


Thursday, 22 August 2013

Kendrick Lamar's Control Verse

“Don’t ask for your favourite rapper. He dead, Amen (I killed him)” Kendrick Lamar- Rigamortus

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Around a week on and people still be talking about this Kendrick verse. I’m seeing a lot of interesting points being made; a few startling debates kicking off and some utter gas being spoken about the decade’s most controversial verse. First of all, let’s just make it clear that Kendrick is ahead of every single rapper in the game right now. Section 80 was incredible, GKMC was historic and almost every feature he’s done has been golden. Not only that, he’s been the busiest artist this summer playing at sell-out festivals around the world. If anyone was to drop bars like this at a time like this, I think it’s fitting that it was Kendrick. You can’t have a Jay Z, Nas or Andre verse like that right now cos they all God’s already. By dissing Kendrick for this verse the way that Ortiz, Ferg and a few other have done, you ain’t understood what the guy has tried to do and basically…you’re stupid.

If you follow the rap battle leagues URL, KOTD or our very own Don’t Flop, then you’ll know that MC’s constantly send for one another. A huge level of mutual respect is overshadowed by an even bigger sense of competition; to be the best in the game. It’s nothing personal, or at least it shouldn’t be. That’s what Kendrick is trying to do here man and instead of repeating all the things that is written in this article, why don’t you have a read for yourself?

He probably could have made the same impact if he didn’t name drop those “new n*ggas” and just named himself amongst the best rappers. That way, the other “new” dudes won’t have been so hurt not to have been mentioned. Whatever though, I don’t care what inspired Kendrick to write this verse but I’m so f*ckin’ glad for it. The overhype on Twitter, meme responses on Instagram and crazy amounts of Kendrick Lamar Response YouTube videos are just the beginning of a new and healthy era for hip hop; or at the very least, that’s what I hope it’ll be. 

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Breaking Bad

Sup, bitch.

Around 4 months ago, I remember my friend struggling to convince me to watch Breaking Bad because the way he explained the story sounded so ludicrous. He said something like “Breaking Bad is about a school teacher who has cancer and starts making crystal meth and gets involved into all sorts of crazy situations”, to which I kept telling him “get the hell out of here”. He wasn’t the only one that failed to give an accurate description of what the show is about. It’s safe to say, persuading someone to watch Breaking Bad will need a lot longer than just a few minutes. It was the constant persistence from these friends and “OMG BREAKING BAD!!!” tweets that inspired me to stream the first season during a critical deadline period. The first episode was engaging, a satisfying affair that I could see myself predicting the outcome of; by the third episode, I slapped myself at that thought. I had to avoid watching the show for a further week because of the deadline period and once it’d passed, I locked myself in my halls, avoided human interaction and was hooked on a show about a school teacher who has cancer and starts making crystal meth and gets into all sorts of crazy situations. With just a few hours left until the new episodes air on AMC, I want to talk about why I love this truly unique, innovative piece of television.

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Realistically portrayed unreal situations
Would you believe me if I said that my old IT teacher was involved with the phone hacking scandal, or that my old History teacher helped to develop Wikileaks? Would you believe me if I said my old Chemistry teacher began making his own pure crystal meth and sold it too? The journey of Mr. White is one that’s unheard of and the writers of the show thrive on that. Each character has their strengths, weaknesses and detailed personality. It’s in the pure emotion that each actor brings to the table that add realness to otherwise bizarre situations. The emphasis on delivering accurate chemistry solutions make you wonder, could this be done in real life? I’m not promoting it though, chill.
Drama and nothing but drama
Breaking Bad is a classic, old-fashioned drama that would work in any generation. Other than the use of mobiles phones and some security equipment, there’s hardly any emphasis on modern technology or the digital culture. There’s not even emphasis on shooting in beautiful locations either. The show purely relies on developing new challenges for the characters, and constantly adding twists to their rollercoaster journeys. With traditional features like unpredictable turn of events, devastating cliff-hangers and flip-phones, Breaking Bad is designed to make our heart rates rise so high that any wait for the next episode is met with utter frustration.
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A true starcast
Take your pick for favourite character. Maybe it’s the urban intellect of Jesse Pinkman. Maybe it’s the Paul Heyman-esque loud, proud and unlawful lawyer Saul Goodman, or the I-Don’t-Give-A-Fuck attitude of Mike. Were you incredibly intimidated by the quiet presence of Gus, with his subtle approach and enunciated speech? Or is your favourite the engrossing, amazing and troubled character of Walter White? Whose journey is the hub of Breaking Bad; whose family we fear for and whose identity as Heisenberg we want to ensure never gets out. Considering that I’ve not mentioned a selection of awesome characters that graced our screens in previous seasons, it’s no wonder that the respective actors are constantly nominated for various awards, as is the show itself.

I’m probably going to appear offline from social media for 24 hours until my good friends at Netflix upload the show. You know, I had to narrow down to 3 paragraphs from a potential 8 for this post. There’s just too much I could write about Breaking Bad and I hope that this post - alongside the hype that’s about to come on social media - will inspire you to lock yourself in your room and catch up with all five seasons. If you’re already a fan of the show, then prepare yourself for the craziest last few episodes of our favourite show of all time. I’m fucking bursting with excitement.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Chennai Express (Movie Review)

Before reading on, I invite you to read my expectations post on to perhaps compare where I was spot on, or purely wrong.

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As predicted, the story of a Mumbai man taking an unexpectedly long journey on a train was never going to be the focal point. It acted as a stimulus for the manic chemistry between SRK-Deepika, the absurd portrayal of Southern India and the stimulating action scenes. Some scenes effortlessly bought the house down and these took part mostly in the first half of the film. The entire sequence on the Chennai Express train was joyous; SRK putting his hand out DDLJ-style to welcome on crazy looking gangsters; the singing-in-speech between SRK-Deepika and the shoe-feigning are just a few examples. The madness continued strongly during the scenes at Deepika’s village, run by her intimidating father. I’d like to mention how beautifully the locations have been shot. I'm not sure how I’d feel if it was my village, my people and my language that was being so heavily mocked. However, I’d be happy at how beautiful my village has been made to look. I especially enjoyed the character of the Singh police officer, who bought some conventional relief alongside SRK. The movie lost its consistency in the second half as the focus shifted on understandably developing the love story between the central characters. That being said, some of this development seemed unnecessary. Shetty’s placement of two contrasting songs back-to-back is an example. Furthermore, SRK shouldn't be mocking iconic lines from his own movies and I understand that this is going to be an unpopular opinion but other than the aforementioned DDLJ sequence, none of the other dialogues were necessary. I can’t help but think of it as a desperate measure.

I thought SRK would struggle, I honestly did. To collaborate with a director who conventionally works with natural comedians such as Ajay Devgan, Abhishek Bachchan and the Golmaal team, I thought SRK would be found either trying too hard or simply not funny enough. I was wrong. SRK delivers one of his funniest ever performances as Rahul the ‘Halwaii’ and at times, brings the house down single-handedly. He excels in the action scenes and is a natural during the romantic ones. As some random fan tweeted, Chennai Express proves that we are all still suckers for the tearful, cheesy and loving SRK. We feel hurt when he’s getting beaten up and feel satisfied when he’s achieved. However, the star of the show was surprisingly not the King Khan for me. It was the up and coming superstar that is, Deepika Padukone. The fact that a fairly new actress - sharing screen with one of the most iconic figures in Bollywood - can steal a show the way she has is testament to her undoubted growth and abilities as an actress. Deepika nails her language proficiencies, her scenes alongside SRK and delivers a great level of emotion when required. These two look brilliant together and I can’t wait to see them work again. Satyagraha doesn't get enough scope but both him and Nikitin Dheer look intimidating and right for the part.

The music of the movie could have been better placed, but One Two Three Four and Titli did well in keeping us in our seats. Chennai Express is truly a great entertainer and is the funniest movie of the year so far. The cast have done brilliantly, the locations look beautiful and the director’s work is visible throughout. Don’t take the movie seriously and once you've found you can do that, then go and enjoy this fun-filled train ride for what it is, not for what it’s not.

3 ½*

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

An Evening of the Absurd: Are We All Still Waiting For Godot?

So basically I sometimes get sent to write reviews for my lovely friend Neil, who then puts them on his website My most recent show was an underground piece part of the Camden Fringe arts festival. Please do click on the following link and if you're in the London area, then make an effort to go and see the show! 

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Thursday, 1 August 2013

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

It was 23:40 and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest was about to start in 10 minutes on BBC One. I’d seen the movie on various best ever lists and had been meaning to watch it. Normally, what I do when it comes to a classic film is watch the trailer, read a synopsis and usually read some reviews to get an understanding of what to expect and why it’s so great. I didn’t do any of that for Cuckoo’s Nest and went in to the movie with a glass of milk and chocolate; nothing else. My under prepared nature had me in for a huge range of spontaneous reactions, in response to the absolute madness that took place in the Oregon psychiatric hospital.
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The story itself is similar to those Basketball/American Football outings where the star player has a bunch of weasels to coach; except, it’s set in a psychiatric ward. The star player in this instance is Randle McMurphy, played by the legend that is Jack Nicholson. The guys he has to coach are a select few unable characters who suffer from a range of inabilities including Tourette’s, paranoia, anger problems, epilepsy and one notable mute/deaf individual. As someone who has acted before and looked for inspiration, I genuinely felt spoilt for choice in this movie. The patients are so detailed with their body language, expressions and speech and they challenge each other in various scenes. Danny DeVito’s consistent smiling becomes a haunting image by the end; Will Sampson’s incredible stature and ironic lack of speech gives him a powerful presence; William Redfield’s academic abilities is overshadowed by his extreme paranoia and Dourif’s final scene is a magical example of believable acting. In acting terms, Cuckoo’s Nest is Stanislavski combined with elements of Beckett.

Nicholson has done a fine job in this movie, with an unusual role to say the least. His efforts are reflected by the fact that he won so many awards that year for Best Actor. Randle McMurphy reminded me of a rebel cockney geezer who doesn’t give a f*ck about anything, anyone; until he finds a motive with his fellow inmates. Whilst I acknowledge Nicholson’s performance as one of his best and respect that not many people will agree with me on this, I think the standout performer – who literally steals the show – is Louise Fletcher. When the movie had ended, Fletcher’s stern look was an image that stayed with me until this very moment. The way she has adapted her voice as Nurse Ratched is truly frightening. Her voice is eloquently intimidating and her presence is gripping every single time she appears. The evil look of intent in her eyes during the group votes, the final scene with Billy Bibbit and throughout the many stand-offs with Ratched are just a few examples of her world class performance. I don’t know if it was just me, but I think there wasn’t enough scope given to the obvious conflict between Nurse Ratched and McMurphy. Maybe just a few more scenes exclusively between them would have created more tension.

I'm really intrigued about the book that inspired this story. Forman's ability to contrast emotions is second to none. Cuckoo’s Nest is a strange combination of feel-good moments with disturbing ones and you can understand why they’ve stated this as one of the best movies of all time. 

££££ ½

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Challa from Jab Tak Hai Jaan

Song in topic:

The most played song on my iTunes has 310 hits. The second has 142. Today is my 21st birthday and a celebration of my graduation, which was 2 days ago; as a commitment to my blog which is still in its baby stages, I want to write a small post on the song Challa from Jab Tak Hai Jaan. When it was announced that the late Yash Chopra was going to collaborate with AR Rahman and Gulzar for his final directorial venture, excitement was understandably abuzz. The first glimpse of Challa was in the following teaser: (00:53) and I remember when I was constantly replaying the video just to hear the guitar intro of the song. The intro has a magically stripped back effect which only Rahman is capable of creating. Most people know exactly how much I love Shahrukh Khan. Most people also know how much I love London, my city. When the trailer for Challa came out and I saw SRK running around the Trafalgar Square and Southbank with his guitar, I was blown away at how beautiful the two [London and SRK] look together. The lyrics of the song, the loca
Screenshot from JTHJ on
tion of the video and the charm of SRK have left a permanent mark in my heart.

The content of the song is plain and simple: “Challa ki lab da phire?” (Translated as “What does this crazy wanderer seek?”) is the opening line of the song and it comes with great irony. London is a city of ranging culture and ethnicity. Thousands upon thousands of people grace the city every day with their presence. Amongst so many people, Samar (SRK's character) is still searching for something. His busking is received well by the tourists’ around him and he feels at home in London; yet he’s still missing something and this song is a charming form of search for SRK’s character. Gulzar saab has penned a beautiful set of lyrics and has given full poetic justice to them by writing them in Punjabi.  Challa is not just a song for me but a form of motivation, inspiration and escapism. It’s a song that promotes London’s beauty, culture and opportunistic nature. Challa has taught me that whenever I'm feeling lost, a great option for relief is to grab a bag, jump on a tube and head to London. If all goes down the drain, then come to London and enjoy being part of a crowd that doesn't care who you are, where you’re from and what you do. You never know what you might find. You see, I've never really felt a part of a specific friendship group or clique. Instead, I try to think of everyone around me as one friend; even strangers. I guess I also feel like I belong to everyone, but no one belongs to me (Tu sab da…Tera koi nahi) and I say that with a huge smile and no regrets. These feelings are testament to SRK's amp portrayal in the video. It’s way too soon to call it, but the way it’s going I wouldn't be surprised if these lyrics determine Challa as my favourite song of all time.

Whoever I've come across in life has made a conscious or subconscious contribution to making me what I am. Every family member, every friend and even every stranger I've ever spoken with has made a contribution and because of these, I will forever be a people person.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Mean Girls

Let’s set the record straight right now: Mean Girls is a f*cking sick movie. Those who have any bad words against the story, the characters, the dialogue or the Plastics can stop reading right now and go read Immortal Technique tweets.  The art of emphasis has never been more so accurately placed, accurately executed. Mean Girls has a timeless ability so powerful that it takes you back to your high school days with minimal effort. Tina Fey has written a script that has – anything but carefully – depicted the most sensitive, obsessive and paranoid years of all our lives. Fey has not only identified [pretty much] every stereotype at high school, but she’s pumped up so much specific detail in them that you can’t help but relate to them.

Taken from some Tumblr page
High school madness comes in from the very beginning as we see it from the perspective of ‘the new kid’, Cady Heron. A character who starts off as evidently normal but ends up being just as crazy and involved in high school politics as everyone else. Just by falling for a guy, she becomes immediately typical and this is a representation of what Fey thinks is an inevitable outcome when joining a public high school. What’s crazy is, some of the dialogue from Mean Girls is scarily identifiable. Let’s look at a few current examples: how many people do you get that ask questions like “Do Muslims wear turbans?” “Do Hindus and Sikhs fast during Ramadan?” “Are you not allowed to eat anything when you fast?” If you live in the UK, then how many Asians and Blacks do you know that have asked a question such as “who the f*ck is Margaret Thatcher?” I’m writing all this from a British perspective so I can only imagine how absolutely literal the comparisons would be with schools in the USA. High school truly is an animal world, and by the end of the movie that comparison seems very valid and evident.
We’re in 2013 now, so writing what I’m about to write may seem a little bit very crazy: Lindsay Lohan was incredible as Cady. She looked perfect as the new kid, and a member of the Plastics. Her narration provided some reality in an otherwise unreal setting and her voice is ideal as well. The heart and soul of this movie, by a huge margin, are the characters of Regina, Gretchen and Karen: aka, the Plastics. Regina, amazingly portrayed by Rachel McAdams, is the definition of Queen Bee and is a character who you can guarantee exists in every high school around. The shining stars of the Plastics however, are Gretchen and Karen. These two are just so cleverly written to be absolutely stupid; their expressions are immaculate and timed to perfection. Note Karen’s face in the build-up to when she asks “So if you’re from Africa, why are you white?” which is challenged by Gretchen who states “You can’t just ask people why they’re white”. Both of these Plastics compete for who is the dumbest and hats off to Lacey Chabert and Amanda Seyfried for their awesome portrayals. Whilst Lizzy Caplan looked ideal for Janis, I think that her actual performance was missing some over the top qualities. Daniel Franseze is hilarious as the overly gay Damien. Tina Fey wasn't too bad herself.

Mean Girls is the most enjoyable example of feminist art. Where female self-awareness, politics and hormones are made to look like utterly stupid. What I really like is that this movie doesn't claim to be anything but a form of comic relief. Tina Fey’s sarcastic consistency has led this movie to become a cult classic and you know what: I think I want to watch it again.


Thursday, 18 July 2013

Badtameez Dil

Up until One Two Three from Chennai Express, the babies in my family were demanding to repeat one and one song only. As soon as the saxophone/trumpets end at the beginning and the music drops, they head into a rave-mode. Badtameez Dil is a cheeky, charming and repeatable song through and through. Most people won’t even be able to sing anything but the chorus but that’s what makes it so, so fun. I’m a huge fan of Pritam and his work despite what anybody claims. YJHD’s successful soundtrack speaks for itself and we will see many a mention when next year’s awards season starts. Amitabh Bhattacharya’s lyrics (not the English ones) are perfect for the song but I want to give the most credit to Benny Dayal here; to sing such nonsensical lyrics and make them seem – actually cool – takes some talent. Dayal’s voice is youthful and despite the speed of the verses, he takes his time and enunciates each and every word. The way he puts a thumps the ‘Badt’ in the chorus makes the chorus that extra bit catchy and his voice naturally captures the essence of Ranbir Kapoor’s character.

Taken from ©
The video of Badtameez Dil is almost like a celebration of Ranbir Kapoor’s achievements over the last few years; consecutive best actor awards, national recognition and startling box office success has made RK one of the most in-demand actors. He’s having a Hrithik Roshan style start to his career and all credit to him. That’s why I think this song is perfect for him in terms of content and style and that’s exactly how the video comes across; a celebration of current times with a huge ‘YOLO’ attitude. He makes the video what it is. I can’t think of any actor – other than one – whom can ‘own’ a song as much as RK has done in this video. He pulls off the suit look with absolute class and shows the world his ability to effortlessly dance. RK’s side-to-side chorus dance brings a smile to your face every time. As someone who loves to dance, I haven’t been able to imagine my next performance to be anything but Badtameez Dil’. A clear cut nomination for #SongoftheYear which will take a lot to beat and I just hope we can see more Dayal-Ranbir combinations in the future because their first collaboration is just brilliant. Oh, and the one actor that I mentioned earlier is none other than the King himself: Shahrukh Khan.

Badtameez Dil:

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Aashiqui 2

Mohit Suri has directed what seems like a combination of Devdas, Jannat and Rockstar; without forgetting the obvious link to A Star Is Born. The story of an accomplished singer-turned-alcoholic who wants to make a small-time village girl famous is farfetched, to say the least.  There was never a real insight into why RJ, played by Aditya Roy Kapur, had become an alcoholic; was it because he couldn’t handle fame? Was he heartbroken from something else? Did he hang with the wrong crowd? This lack of information also makes you wonder why he’s getting attacked so often by the ‘gunde’. However, instead of suggestion and wondering, I want to explore what Suri did with the script he was given.
What worked well in Aashiqui 2 was the sincerity of the central characters; especially of Aarohi, played by Shraddha Kapoor. It’s safe to say that both of these actors are relying on this movie as a stepping platform. If I were to choose one as the more successful performer [for the sake of debate] I’d have to go for Shraddha. Her loyalty, purity and innocence throughout the movie are a joy to behold and I really enjoyed her performance. Whether it was at the beginning when we got a glimpse of her cheeky side, in the mid-section during the intimate love scenes or at the later stages when she had become famous, her performance was consistently believable. Aditya did a good job and more importantly, looks the part. However, a small-scale Twitter debate got me thinking that perhaps there was something missing from his performance. Initially, he was untouchable. In the opening scenes as the alcoholic superstar, his voice and stature was spot on. His expressions were intriguing and you just want to see more, know more. However, the scene when RJ shouts hell at his manager friend for not informing him of Aarohi’s calls was just not convincing enough. At times, the screaming became awkward and reminded me of Zayed Khan (think Main Hoon Na). I liked that the structure of the movie was reflective of RJ’s rehab nature. When one point of tension reached its cause, a few minutes of light relief comes in; but not long before another problem arises and the tension gets back up. This structure is an exemplary decision by Suri which separates him from others. We can see why he’s an accomplished thriller director. Oh, and the ending of the movie is executed brilliantly. A heartbreakingly painful climax for which you'll probably need tissues.

Aashiqui 2 was never going to come anywhere near its predecessor in terms of music but the movie has two songs that, in my opinion, do some justice. These two songs have become a craze amongst all Bollywood fans. I’ve spoken to people that rarely watch Bollywood whom have heard Tum Hi Ho, complimenting the heart touching lyrics and painfully wonderful singing. The one that stands out for me though is without a doubt Sunn Raha Hai. It would take a huge miracle to challenge this powerful ballad to the song of the year award. It’s certainly the song of the year for me. The execution of the song in the movie was perfectly fit for RJ and his story. When he opens up his concert with “Apne karam ki kar aadayein”, you’ll feel a cold sensation travel through body to straight to your heart. Ankit Tiwari deserves all sorts of recognition, award and appreciation for his beautiful performance on this song. Here’s a link: Turn your lights off, listen to the lyrics and fall into the anthemic trance that is Sunn Raha Hai. Bhula Dena is a decent addition to the soundtrack but I think we can agree that the composers didn’t take full advantage of Mustafa Zahid’s voice. Zahid is one of my favourite singers of all time and that’s an opinion based on just three of his songs. To give him such a weak song is so disappointing. Milne Hai Mujhse Aayi – which incredibly didn’t make it into the movie – is a well written song, but the main two mentioned earlier stand towers above the rest. All in all, this movie is a decent watch and I enjoyed it but ultimately, it should not have been made as a sequel to the 1990 Aashiqui. Have producers become so desperate that they’re forced to sacrifice legacies in order to sell a new movie? 

£££ ½

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Emirates A380

Take a second to think about the best service you’ve ever received. Be it in a shop, on a flight, at a restaurant. Think about the most amazing facilities you’ve ever used. Be it at the gym, in the office, at a hotel. Combine both of these thoughts and you come very close to what the Emirates experience feels like.  I have a lot of love for British Airways on a patriotic level and recently I flew on first class with them. However, I regretfully confess that flying economy on Emirates was better, so much better.  The cabin crew welcome you with smiles that are so natural and as incredible as it sounds, it looked like they genuinely enjoyed their jobs (!). I eavesdropped on requests that guests around me were making and every single one of them was met with a positive response, even the most outrageous requests. At some point during the flight, I stopped a member of the crew called Hector, and I asked him how to use the On Air wi-fi. He could simply have said to “follow instructions when signing in” but instead, he kneeled down by my side and took me through step-by-step until I was connected on to the internet. During the times my phone would load, Hector would give me some information on how On Air developed and on what Emirates airlines you would find the network most available. The conversations flew so naturally that before I knew it, I had connected on to a reasonable internet service on flight. Hector’s brilliant service was not only in his extensive knowledge and ability to converse, but also in the fact that he was kneeling down when speaking to me and he wasn’t the only one; almost every member of the crew would kneel down when speaking to customers for longer than 15 seconds. Now, picture it: you’re lying back in your seat and a cabin crew member is kneeling by your side, at your service. It gives an image of the slave era, doesn’t it? I don’t mean to say that the Emirates crew are like your slaves, far from that. My comparison is a compliment to how amazingly personal the service is; the cabin crew have a huge respect for authority. They treat their customers with the utmost respect, attention and loyalty and that is exactly what excellent service is. ©
Incredible customer service aside, Emirates have the most amazing in-flight entertainment –titled ‘ice’ – available for its customers. Anyone that has used ice knows that there is simply too much to choose from. I saw that there was entertainment in all sorts of languages, from all sorts of cultures. There were also heaps of information on ‘Today’s flight’, ‘About Dubai’ and ‘Duty-Free shopping’. My favourite part of the entertainment was the interviews involving Steve Harvey and relevant Dubai business people. The interviews are insightful and help you to understand the past, present and future state of Dubai as a business capital and potential world expo host. The only issue, which was very easy to spot because it was the only issue, was that they had run out of chicken on my fight and the second option was just not good enough. In-flight catering is so tough to get right and I’m sure that the guys behind the scenes at Emirates are doing all they can to improve. I was surprised that there was no Arabic focus on the menu, which is what I had expected. ©

I’ve heard a countless amount of stories about the growth of Dubai and a huge part of that growth has been the Emirates airline. A few years ago I only identified them as the shirt sponsor for Arsenal FC, but here I am now writing a review on my Emirates A380 flight experience.  To get to Dubai, you pay a bit more than Royal Brunei and British Airways but believe me, every single extra penny is absolutely worth it. It doesn’t surprise me that Emirates currently hold the award for Airline of the Year, best Airline of the Middle-East and have the Best In-flight Entertainment as well (voted on Whenever you have the option to do so, I strongly urge you to ‘Fly Emirates’ because when I did, I was [metaphorically] blown away.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Chennai Express (Soundtrack Review)

One Two Three Four – Get on the Dance Floor: What a fun start to the soundtrack! Full of energy and character, Vishal Dadlani and Hamsika Iyer deliver great performances and compliment the incredibly happening production. This song has taken it’s time but has settled in well as a catchy item number. A track that would have been perfect had Prabhudeva taken control of the choreography. Anyways, good start to the album. 8/10

Taken from ©
Titli: This song needs time. It sound generic at first, but it goes grow on you. The lyrics are sweet and the song acts as the conventional SRK romantic number which was last seen in Saans. Although not incredibly moving or classic like songs from the late 90’s and pre-2005 Shahrukh Khan golden era, the song is good enough for a Rohit Shetty entertainer. Nice listen. 7/10

Tere Rastaa Mein Chhodoon: This song will probably come shortly after that sequence from the theatrical trailer when SRK walks away intensely from Deepika. It’s an emotional song with contrastingly upbeat production and that works well; a very international quality. When I close my eyes and listen to this song, I can imagine it working really well in a busy city setting like a London or New York or Mumbai, similar to Sau Dard from Jaan-E-Mann so it’ll be interesting to see how they film this song, considering the movie is set in a villagey-type location. This song has replay value and is one of my favourite from the soundtrack. 8/10

Kashmir Mein Tu Kanyakumari: Upbeat and positive vibes throughout this song and it suits the look of the movie. The results are decent and the picturisation might help but I don’t see this song as nothing more than just filler on the soundtrack. Nowhere near as impacting as One Two Three Four. 6/10

Ready Steady Po: I was waiting to review this song the most! International production reminds you of the likes of Guetta and Will I Am. Being someone who is incredibly into both English and Hindi music, I don’t normally like the combination of the two but this song has got the right balance. The rapping doesn't seem [as] lame as it has done in recent Bollywood songs, and the Hindi sections are just so fun. The hook, which I think is sung by Natalie Di’luccio, is one of the most catchiest I've heard. I can’t believe I do, but I really like this song! 8/10!

Chennai Express: Remember Ek Main Aur Ek Tu Hain from Bluff Master? This song has a very similar introduction from the same producers, Vishal-Shekar and acts as a musical trailer for the movie. The biggest names on the intro are of course, SRK and SBP (acronyms ftw!). Very, very catchy chorus but the unfortunate lame English lyrics take away from the overall result. Nevertheless, a very good advert for the movie and the train metaphor is clever. I hope they release this video soon as it’ll probably encourage people to buy the tickets, as the lyrics explicitly suggest you to. 7/10

Chennai Express Mashup: Firstly, I don’t think the songs on the album offer much for a sufficient mashup, but compliments to V-S for attempting. The fact that it comes right after the title song and uses the chorus so heavily makes you feel like it’s just a remix of the title song. Not much scope given to the other songs. They should probably have focussed it more on Ready Steady Po. Mashup doesn't work and you won’t want to listen to it after one or maybe two times. 4/10

Taken from ©
Titli Dubstep Version: So, if Vishal-Shekhar’s international approach to this album wasn't suggestive in the previous songs, it’s absolutely clear in this song. Before I give my view, I want to applaud the duo for attempting this; a very risky combination of genres and one that will work in Bollywood soon enough. However, Titli just isn't the right choice for the first ever Bollywood dubstep song and I can name so many that would have been better. That’s not to say that this attempt isn’t decent, it is. I have high appreciation for the intentions here, but it doesn't work as well as it could have and won’t have much scope on an international scale. I've seen YouTube remixes that are far better. 6/10

So basically: I wasn't expecting a classic album or anything that has much replay value from the Chennai Express soundtrack. It just had to fit the genre of the movie and have a well-rounded result which it has. My picks of the lot are One Two Three Four, Ready Steady Po and Tera Rasta. A few other songs are worthy as well, but there seems to be too many a filler on the soundtrack. Once again, big compliments to the producers V-S for their international approach to this album. This should get them some good work in the future. 7/10!

Sunday, 30 June 2013

The Minions Marketing Strategy

In 2010, Illumination Entertainment and producer Chris Meledandri published a genius idea that would go on to create havoc amongst children, couples and families alike. They released Despicable Me, but that wasn’t the idea; it was the invention of Gru’s Minions. You know them tiny, yellow, beefy robot things that squeak in chipmunk pace, wear goggles and have different hairstyles? Yeah, them. The first major publication of the Minion was in the following trailer:  Three years on, the Minions have built up a legacy similar to that of the Toy Story franchise. Under construction is a new ride titled ‘Minion Mayhem’ at Universal Studios Florida and there are countless amounts of Twitter pages in dedication (@MinionFM, DM_Minions).

Youtube screenshot
They speak their own language but have the same tone qualities as humans. Their language is essentially like the unique communication that babies have with one another. For example, when my nephew says something like “agoo googoo lala ma?” and my niece’s response is something like “aga! aga! aga!”, they’ve probably plotted a plan to smash my Xbox. The loyal nature of the Minions - despite the fact that they work for a villain in the movie - makes them come across as very innocent (North Korea reference?) Pre-release, the producers of the movie pushed to promote the Minions and I remember wanting to watch the movie to see them alone. When I finally watched Despicable Me, I thought the movie had a great plot with educational value, a charming lead character in Gru, and the cutest baby in the world in Agnes. However, I only made these judgements after watching these movies (obviously, Sahil). My point is, the reason that I wanted to watch the movie was to see more of the Minions and I’m sure that I wasn’t the only one. The Minions became something that couples-in-love would begin to refer to, toddlers and kids would begin to imitate and toy stores would begin to produce in abundance. Despite not having any real relevance in the plot, the Minions became an image worldwide.

The simple yet genius move was the decision to turn the Minions into not just an image, but a brand. We have t-shirts, inflatables, soft toys, battery toys, apps, phone covers, the Minion song and so much more. Miranda Cosgrove – who by the way is the weakest point of the movie – recently threw this picture on Instagram when she was here for the premiere of the sequel: Can you imagine any other animated figure of recent times that has this sort of power? The hype for Despicable Me 2 is even greater than Monsters University from what I can see, and this has to be due to the clever emphasis on Minion promotion. I can’t describe my happiness at the fact that the same makers are going to release a Minions spin-off movie later this year but for now, I can’t wait to go and watch them cause mayhem in Despicable Me 2. Now imagine, how much [more] success would the Madagascar franchise have if they did the same thing with King Julian?

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Mamma Mia!

For legal reasons, I can't have my review of Mamma Mia! on the blog. So, do me a huge on the link below: 
Taken from 

Safe x

Monday, 24 June 2013

Veer Zaara

Almost 10 years ago, Yash Chopra (referred to as Yashji) directed a love legend that attempted to change the modern, common and traditional person’s perception on India-Pakistan politics. Since its release in November 2004, I can proudly confess that I have probably watched the movie over a hundred times. Veer-Zaara is, without a doubt, the best Bollywood movie of the modern generation; and quite possibly, of all time. The greatest love stories are those that are improbable in society’s eyes. Look at Romeo/Juliet, Ennis/Jack and Shrek/Fiona for examples. Similarly, the story of an Indian army officer falling in love with a traditional Pakistani girl is improbable and heavily frowned upon. It’s a risky move, because I am not from either country, but I want to present this movie as a political example of how modern Indian and Pakistani stereotypes should be with one another.

Yash Raj Films ©
Veer Pratab Singh: a happy, simple and charming man who gets on with life and his work. He visits his home town whenever he has time but has fully devoted himself to his job. Zaara Hayaat Khan: quite a fun, bubbly girl who cares greatly for those that are close to her. Both characters don’t really stand out as individuals. What stands out is that one is Indian, one is Pakistani and they fall in love with each other. The simple characteristics of both characters are juxtaposed by the complex background of their story. This contrast is one of the many attempts to not only show equality between the two countries, but to show similarity; Yashji presents love as something that should not have any set requirements. The song ‘Aisa Des Hai Mera’ ( is a beautifully shot example of Yashji's political message. Throughout the song, Veer guides Zaara on an educational journey about India and Indian people. None of his patriotic three verses are relevant to Yashji’s overall intentions but in Zaara’s only verse (at 5:46), we begin to see them more clearly. She responds to Veer by saying that the Indian soil, the Indian weather, the Indian people, they all seem very recognizable to her. They remind her of her home, Pakistan. Stories with such sensitive topics need to be directed with maturity (Karan Johar’s attempt at Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna being an example) and Yash Chopra has proved himself to be -  potentially - the only director that could have arranged the presentation of such a story. One of Shahrukh Khan’s most incredible moments as an actor is in the final scene where he reads his 786 poem. A poem about how he felt at home in his time at a Pakistani prison. A few of the supporting characters are very important to the message of this story and it’s [not] ironic that they are all ‘Pakistani’. Saamiya (played by Rani Mukherjee) is the modern Pakistani woman who challenges traditional views on the India and Pakistan feud. She’s revolutionary in her attempt to free Veer and send him back to his
country. Her rival in the movie, Zakir Ahmed (played by Anupam Kher), is the complete opposite and in the name of his country, fights to keep Veer rotting in hell. By the end of the movie, Zakir realises that his country are in desperate need of people like Saamiya and as he retires as a lawyer, one presumes that he has retired his old school views and grudges against India.

The only small problem I have with this movie is that on one hand, Yashji presents India as the colourful and perfect nation; on the other hand, he presents Pakistan as the unforgiving, conflicted and corrupted one. I imagine this didn't go down too well in the Pakistani community. I’d like to have seen at least one character from Veer’s home that has a problem with him loving and marrying a Pakistani. In a sense, I regret taking a political agenda in this review because I am taking away value from the romantic quotient. Veer-Zaara will make you want to fall in love; the moments involving the title characters have gone down as some of the most iconic scenes and dialogue of all time. If you are reading this and you're not Indian-Pakistani, then read up on the history and treat yourself to this beautiful example of a Bollywood movie. To those people that are however, no one is asking you to fall in love with each other; but this movie is an example of how you can work together to avoid hatred passing down to your newer generations. If you don’t want to take advice from someone who isn’t Pakistani or Indian, take it from someone who comes from a country that is currently under ruthless attack.


My theatrical version of Stan

My theatrical version of Stan