Friday, December 26, 2014

Indirect speech

So day before yesterday, Viv and I threw a Christmas eve party. It was a small one, just family actually (the three of us, my sis-in-law who is also our neighbour, his second cousin and his wife) - and sis-in-law's housemate whom she'd invited as she had no plans. The tree was up, the decorations were in place. (Well, mostly, since Xena was the one who'd put them up.) We'd bought gifts for everyone, wrapped and put them under the tree with their names. Xena and I were wearing hairbands -- mine had two Santas and hers had two reindeers. The whole family was dressed in red and white.

I had prepared some Christmas-themed games - pictionary, dumb charades, etc. It had been a long time since we'd played it, but it was super fun. Viv was in his element as usual, and hence very entertaining to watch. The Christmas-themed movie title he got had two words, and that was pretty much the only straightforward miming he did - showed us two fingers. After that, things went the Viv way.

He split the second word into two and to show the first part, he sneezed. So we guessed the usual sneeze-related words - sneeze, cold, allergy, pepper, etc. Somehow we managed to guess that he was trying to show 'achhoo'. For the second part, he pointed to his bum. So all of went, "bum, butt, ass, posterior, etc." He kept pointing and we realised he's trying to show us something to do with pants. Something to do with pants? No. Jeans? Yes. A belt? The loops for the belts? No. The label at the back? Yes! Then he tried to mime 'name' by showing a strip across his forehead. The name of a brand of jeans? Yes. Levis? No. He showed a martial arts pose. Bruce Lee? Yes, but shorten. LEE? YES.

Then he asked us to put the two parts of the second word together, and then sat down because according to him, he was done and we were to do the rest. Errr... Achhoo Lee? Yes. ACHHOO LEE? YES. WHAT?! THERE WAS NO SUCH... WAIT... SERIOUSLY? WHAT THE...?!

We'd got it, you see.

Yup, the movie was 'Love Actually'. And instead of showing directly, like a normal homo sapien, a heart for the first word and letting the audience easily guess the second word on their own, Viv in his trademark style had taken us on a trip involving sneezes and jeans. Jai ho.

And though I 'tsk-tsk-ed', he knew and I knew and we all knew that DC is always fun because the insane lateral thinker is in da house.

Merry Christmas and happy holidays, bewdas!

PS: The pics are not of our home (we wish!). They were taken in a mall.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Random review: PK

*mega spoilers ahead; read only watching the movie*

Viv and I rarely manage to watch Hindi movies in the theatre together. One of us has to be home with Xena, so we take turns and watch them with different people. I honestly can't remember the last time we had watched a Hindi movie in the theatre together.

But PK was different. I knew I wanted to watch it and I knew I wanted to watch it with him. Such is the reliability of a Rajkumar Hirani movie. (I used to be like this with Shah Rukh Khan movies, but then I saw Ra.One and my life changed. I decided to go into utter denial which I am continuing -- that if I don't watch an SRK movie, it doesn't exist. Hence, I can continue to worship him.)

So the sis-in-law kindly agreed to babysit Xena, while we went for the movie. We fed Xena dinner and put her to bed by 8:15 pm, and went for the 9 pm show, so that there wouldn't be much for SIL to do other than keeping an ear out for her waking up and crying.

So here are my random thoughts about the movie.

  • Ok, first things first. PK is a thoroughly entertaining movie, with Hirani's trademark humour, catchy concepts (think 'jaadu ki jhappi', 'Gandhigiri', 'aal iz well', and now 'wrong number' in this one), hilarious dialogues and endearing characters that engage the audience. I'm not sure if the movie will change the people it wants to change, but it will make them think for sure.

  • I like the fact that Hirani picks movies with very relevant and prevalent themes and is not afraid to challenge things. His movies are very touching, and they do change people, even if it's in the slightest of ways. Though I feel that his earlier movies were much more influential than this one probably will be, but this is more a reflection of the topic this time than his movie-making skills. What a talented dude. He can write, direct, and edit, and yet not screw up any part of it. (Most Bollywood buffs would know that he was the model in this very old Fevicol ad.) 

  • What I love the most about his movies are how they can make you laugh like mad, and also cry like mad. Though it's interesting recalling how his last four movies affected me. I cried the most buckets in Munnabhai MBBS, then a little less (but still substantial) in Lage Raho Munnabhai. I had a lump in my throat in 3 Idiots, but I sailed through PK without much ado. 

  • Overall, I liked the movie and found it very entertaining. However, there were several tiny things that were distracting me, and adding up to make the entire experience not as enjoyable as it could have been. Warning: The next few points are kinda nit-picky.

  • Speaking of lead actors not looking nice, Aamir too didn't look all that nice. The bulging arms were just too much. Maybe they'd have suited someone taller, but on him, they just looked weird. In fact, I felt that they made him look shorter than he is, especially in the scene where he's pouring milk over the shiva linga.

  • I wasn't too happy with the bhojpuri lingo they had given Aamir. First, I thought he wasn't really pulling it off that well (my Dad was posted in Bihar for more than a decade so I grew up listening to a lot of Bhojpuri) and secondly, I felt that it was taking something away from his acting. Like the effort he had to put into memorising the dialogues was showing through the performance, and not in a good way. (It's like when Irrfan Khan is asked to act in English. Such a waste of a great actor.) They did hire a very good language coach for him, but the outcome was disappointing. Aamir just couldn't pronounce 'expression' as 'esperason' as taught by the coach. (In the movie, he ended up saying 'experason'). Fortunately, the dialogues themselves were hilarious (think "Woh kauwa nanga baitha hai..." and the different meanings of the word "achha"), so they kinda just sold themselves.

  • Harping on the Bhojpuri, I was really annoyed at the song 'Love is a bhaste of time'. If he can say 'love' and 'mirrorWA', why can't he say 'waste'? Sigh. The tune is very catchy though!

  • Speaking of catchy tunes, I found the 'Tharki chhokro aayo re banke mhaaro mehmaan' song HILARIOUS. I'd heard the song before but somehow I thought it was 'ghar ki chhokro' and dismissed it as something in some local dialect. But the picturisation and the lyrics were hilarious. Sanju Baba was toooo good. He really killed it as band wala Bhairon Singh. And my heart is aflutter at Vidhu Vinod Chopra's statement that there will be a third Munnabhai movie!

  • I was so amazed when I found out that all the costumes Aamir wears in the movie belong to real people on the streets. The costume team was asked to roam around and buy interesting clothes off people! Watch this video for more interesting trivia about the movie.

  • I wish they didn't have a love track between Aamir and Anushka in the movie. Seriously, it was totally unnecessary.

  • Why, oh, why did Sushant Singh Rajput have to do the trademark SRK open-arms pose in the song with Anushka? No one should be allowed to do that anymore. The original pose was done in a different era, and yes, we all swooned, but no one, not even SRK, can pull that off anymore. No no no no. NO. Please. Go back and watch DDLJ. Preserve the sanctity of the pose. Just don't try to replicate it.

  • The bride-cat-letter scene was a giveaway. I'm sure most people went, "Of course! I knew it!" when they "revealed" what had actually happened. I'm still wondering if they could have done it in a more subtle way.

  • Did anyone notice that Parikshit Sahni has changed his first name to Parikshet? (Viv works in colour correction for movies, so we end up sitting for the entire end credits of most movies, and that's how I caught this one.) This one's not for numerology for sure. ;)

  • UTV has released an entire bunch of behind the scenes videos on YouTube for curious folks like me. It's amazing how a simple scene lasting just a few seconds can be so complex to shoot and nail. The fat-barber-butt-pyjama scene took 11 retakes! I pity the poor actor!

  • Ranbir Kapoor's cameo was such a welcome surprise! And I know that this might offend Aamir fans, but at some point during the movie, my mind did wander over to the 'who else could play this part, and maybe better?' zone, and I could only think of Ranbir. I hope they do a sequel with him in the lead.

  • But first MunnaBhai 3. Please. 

Bar rating - * * * 1/2

* Run for your life! And do not look back.
** Once-watchable (if you have nothing better to do).
*** Good stuff, watch it in the theatre.
**** Awesome! Watch it in the theatre AND buy the DVD!

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Christmas gift (of gab)

Xena - Mama, did you ask Santa to get me a ladybug bag for Christmas?
Me - Oh, right. Let me call him right away. (fake dialing on my phone) Hello, Santa? Could you please get Xena a ladybug bag for Christmas this year? (pause) Yes, yes, she will be good and finish all her meals... (turning to Xena) OK?

Xena (looking at me most suspiciously) - Mama, can you put Santa on speaker?

Thursday, December 04, 2014

A trip to Baliwood... finally!

Om swasti astu, bewdas!

That was a Balinese greeting, by the way. And also my way to tell you guys that I had not fallen off the edge of the earth, but was chilling in a very beautiful part of it, enjoying the company of my parents who finally visited me after much cajoling, pleading, threatening and emotional blackmailing. Finally the Bali dream came true. And though I have been inundated with deadlines since we came back, I'm pleased to report that I have completed the travelogue on Bali (unlike that of the previous holiday - Amsterdam/Paris, which I will complete at some point!).

Hop over to Hopscotch to read about why Bali was a dream (in more ways than one).