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Thursday, 6 January 2011

Tangled (2010)

Catching up on things - I saw Tangled in the cinema with my family for my birthday in December.

As probably everyone already knows Tangled is the newest Disney offering as far as animation goes. It's an unusual take on the tale of Rapunzel. Instead for the princess to patiently wait to be saved by the prince, she takes matters in her own hands. The prince... is not a prince but a thief, who needs to be blackmailed by the girl into helping her. And the relationship between Rapunzel and her captor, whom she thinks of as mother, is definitely more complex than in the original tale.

What I really enjoyed about the story is how fleshed out and appealing the characters were. Rapunzel was no damsel in distress and Flynn was not a bland prince devoid of personality. They both had their goals, dreams and fears, and actually needed to cooperate. The emphasis on their bonding and growing to respect each other, really made their subsequent love believable and relatable.

I loved also how action filled the film was. There's nothing better than a good smack-down in a princess film xD And Rapunzel got no less fighting to do than Flynn. Girl power all over :D

What I loved a bit less was the humour. The jokes were pretty uneaven. Some were fantastic and left me in splits, while other fell flat and felt forced. There was also that deja vu factor to some of them. Thankfully none were tasteless or vulgar. Overall I appreciate the attempts at humour, but some more work could have been put into that.

Another thing that disappointed me slightly was the psychological aspect of Rapunzel's relationship with Mother Gothel. At first I loved it - they acted like an overbearing mother and a too sheltered daughter would. What didn't work for me was the rushed ending that gave Rapunzel no room to contemplate what had happened in the finale. Also there were some aspects of how Rapunzel's magical abilities work that could have been presented more clearly in the final confrontation.

Technically the film is breathtaking. The facial expressions are extremely life-like, the hair (not only Rapunzel's) sets new standards (and animating hair is hell, so this should be appreciated), the scenery is lovely. Some scenes are simply awe-inspiring, such as the one with the lanterns.

The music is very pleasant and has that classical Disney touch to it, however the songs didn't really move me or stay with me after the screening. The only one I keep coming back to is the romantic number "At last I see the light". What's more, although I loved the picturizations of the songs, and as I said, the music was pleasant as well, at times they slowed down the pace of the movie considerably. A few cuts would have helped (as often is the case especially in old Bollywood films - nice songs but too long/too many).

Overall Tangled was a very enjoyable experience. Especially due to the lovable characters. What would have needed a bit of tweaking was the script. Also as far as it is a solid piece of film-making, it lacks that something special that would make it into a timeless masterpiece. Moreover, although there are many fresh ideas, it still does re-hash some common tropes at times. For me it wasn't much of a problem, but my brother's girlfriend (a big fan of animation) was unimpressed by the film because of this. In this case your mileage may vary.

The trailer:

I absolutely love the "Grounded for life" trailer - it's so adorably fifties xD

Frying pans - who knew? xD

My rating: 5/6

edit. I forgot to add: my kudos to the Polish dubbing team. It was a great job.
I'm curious to listen to the original version too when I get the DVD.

Monday, 3 January 2011

Dhobi Ghat and Tanu Weds Manu trailers, (belated) happy new year, and an apology AGAIN

So first off, as you see, I didn't manage to keep this blog running the way I wanted to :/ Weekly update, my foot. I was totally out of it for the entire winter term. Writers block + generally being tired with academic life do that to you. So from now on, I'm not promising anything. When an update happens, it happens. My NYR is for them to happen more often than once in 3 months.

Well, also have a Happy New Year everyone! May all your plans and dreams (or at least the one's that are not evil and don't include killing puppies and kittens) come true, and may your own blogs, journals, forums, communities thrive ;)

Now on with the trailers. As I said, I rarely get excited for new Bollywood films (there is a slump and no one can deny it :P), but Dhobi Ghat needs a mention. The triler has been out for a while but I haven't acknowledged it here. So here goes:

I'm excited for Aamir and Prateik :) The look of the film is gritty and intriguing. Kiran seems like a very intelligent person, so I'm curious about the plot. The music is by Gustavo Santaolalla, so there are plenty of reasons to be excited :D

Tanu weds Manu. It seems cute and funny. It looks a bit like a Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi parody in places. Madhavan is adorable (and I absolutely love him in glasses), Kangana shows her more lively side (people often call her miss-depression, but she can be bubbly too, like here and in Dhaam Dhoom with Jayam Ravi for example). I'm excited mainly for Madhavan, as he's my favourite Tamil actor and one of my fav actors in general. Also the comedy seems to be quite tasteful and not TOO loud. Well, we'll see.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Shahrukh Bola Khoobsurat Hai Tu (2010) - trailer

I probably won't post too many trailers here as I rarely get excited by them... but this one is too intriguing to miss. I've read about this film ages ago. I was convinced it already got released. Well, now I know, I was wrong. The trailer shows that this film is way to epic to go unnoticed.

It's the story of a poor flower seller who is a big fan of SRK. One day she meets him by accident. She seems sad, so to cheer her up he says "Khoobsurat hai tu" ("You're pretty"). When she wants to share this happy news with everyone, they don't believe her. She ends up in a very Billu-like situation, but she's not going to wait it out. She's going to fight tooth and nail to prove the truth.

So what do you think? Billu meets southern "hero" film? It's either going to be very good or very bad. But it definitely won't be boring xD And to think I was expecting either a romantic or a satirical comedy xD There's going to be satire here, that's clear but the action scenes surprised me like woah!

Thanks go to Parmita from Without her I would have probably missed it.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Credits, resources and links

My header was made by Louella (aka imienazwisko). Check out her Indian cinema blog Masala w Bigosie and her graphics journal

The vids I link to come from various youtube accounts, so thanks to everyone.

The photos come from:
Bollywood Hungama

A special thanks to everyone at, without you, guys, I wouldn't know half of the stuff, I do.

More to be added in the future...

Magadheera (2009)

I'm especially excited to write about this film as I saw it twice (yes, I went twice because it was so much fun!) in a cinema in my home city (Cracow) with Polish subtitles. All this happened thanks to Srikanth who organised the screenings in Poland. I'm also thankful to my mom and all my friends from (especially to Louella who authored this lovely write-up of our adventure) who went with me. The cheering, shouting, clapping and singing along will be remembered for a long time! :D

Magadheera is quite a simple story based on reincarnation. In 1609 the brave warrior Kala Bhairava (Ram Charan Teja) and the proud princess Mitravinda (Kajal Agarwal) met a tragic fate. As their love never got fulfilled their souls would not find peace until they met again. 400 years later Harsha, a young and gutsy motorbike racer (again RCT) and Indu (Kajal again), a college student accidentally brush fingers. Harsha feels an "electric" jolt and starts having recollections of his previous life. Indu on the other hand feels nothing as she is less susceptible to any sort of links with the past. It is up to Harsha to first find out who the mysterious girl is (he didn't manage to see her face in time!) and then convince her to believe him. Unbeknownst to him Indu is only a hand reach away... Will he find out the truth in time? And time is scarce as the villain who brought them death in their first lives (Dev Gill) reincarnated as well...

As I said, the story is not that novel but it is handled well. First we are shown the demise of the warrior and the princess, which makes us want to find out what lead to it. We have to wait for the answer throughout the first half as we watch the adventures of their modern counterparts. Right before the intermission Harsha fully remembers his past life and as the intermission sign says "we will travel 400 years in 10 minutes" (too bad in Poland we never have an actual break in the films :P). The second half shows us the past and then the resolution in the present. The narration makes one involved in the story. Its only flaw is that the modern part could have been a bit shorter in comparison to the past one.

An additional advantage of the plot is the sense of humour the creators handle their characters with. A great example of this is the mighty warrior king Sher Khan (Srihari, known for example from Nuvvostanante Nenoddantana, where he played Trisha's older brother) reincarnating as a simple (but also brave) fisherman with a fascinating accent and a crazy sense of humour. Also RCT, generally shown as The Mighty Hero has his moments of auto-irony, for example being afraid of horses (almost as much as Indiana Jones is of snakes xD) before his warrior spirit kicks in, or drunk dancing after the fisherman tries to "heal" the unconscious boy with arrack. The signs of nature that are meant to show that the hero meats his nemesis are also a riot. It's not that easy to get a volcanic eruption in Hyderabad, so the forces of nature have to handle differently. I'll let you find out this one for yourselves ;)

The minus points are a few too predictable ideas (especially in the finale). And a few jokes that include unnecessary violence on the part of the hero, and thus fall short of the generally tasteful humour of the film. Also a few scenes were too chauvinistic for my liking (such as Indu falling in love with Harsha after he beats up some guys who picked on her - Harsha has other much more likable qualities than that and what's more the teasing was too mild to merit beating the guys into a pulp - he could have simply told them off instead). I know this happens often in "hero movies" but it doesn't mean I like it. Also I would have gladly seen the princess do some action. Seeing her wear an armour and practise archery made me hope for that so I was disappointed to see her as a damsel in distress in the end.

The acting is mostly good.
RCT could be taking his role too easy as the son of Megastar Chiranjeevi, but he puts in a lot of effort. One can also see the development of his acting since his debut film Chirutha. This however, does not mean that Charan is 100% there as an actor. His facial expressions are convincing, his fighting and dancing impressive, but he still needs to work on his line delivery. He's decent at casual or funny dialogues but the serious and dramatic ones leave a lot to be desired and make him sound artificial. Overall it is a good effort of such a young actor but he can't stop at this. I hope the commercial success of Magadheera and prizes he got for the part won't make him too complacent, as this was the downfall of many a young actor. From his interviews RCT seems like a modest and reasonable guy, so let's just hope he'll act accordingly to this. To end on a more optimistic note I'll say that he looked fantastic as a warrior and I hope to see him in more costume dramas in the future.

Kajal is likable and definitely shows more acting prowess than some of the models making a career in Telugu cinema only because of their figures and fair skin. I liked especially her pride as the princess and the murderous looks she gave the villain. Overall they make a cute couple with Charan. Not an exceptional one however. Some of their scenes like the Dheera Dheera song and the dialogue with the apple are sizzling but especially some of the modern ones left me cold.

Dev Gill is efficient as the villain. Also a young actor, he was fresh and engaging to watch. Some of his clothes (actually more so in the modern part, where he plays a sort of an evil prince) were drop dead gorgeous. Actually quite a few friends of mine (notably askay) liked him more than the hero :D

Srihari is a real show stealer both as the mighty yet jovial king and the colourful fisherman. The interactions between him and RCT are adorable and in a way their friendship is more endearing than the main romance itself :D

The supporting actors did a good job as well. Even the comedians weren't annoying (it often is a problem in Telugu cinema). Actually I would have even gladly seen a bit more of Sunil, who seems to disappear in the second half.

Lastly the technical aspects and the music deserve a few words. The cinematography is lovely. The colours are fresh and vibrant, there are many impressive wide and dynamic shots. The special effects are a mixed bag, some great but some plainly bad. The Telugu industry is very proud of them, and yes they are a big step forward (even compared to Arundhati - the previous landmark) but they are still not up there with Hollywood. Overall Magadheera is a treat to watch at the cinema but more progress in the future is needed.

The soundtrack features many foot-taping numbers. Jorse Jorsey is a favourite of mine as I have a soft spot for drunk!songs and RCT is fabulous in it. I don't care much for Kim Sharma, but one can't have everything :P Dheera Dheera is all that is monumental, passionate and epic. It's also a good preview of the past part of the film. Panchadara Bomma is adorable and features the beautiful Golconda fort. Anaganaga shows the entire film crew chilling MHN/OSO style :D Bangaru Kodi Petta is a remix of Chiru's song from the film Gharana Mogudu and ends up with a dance off between father and son. The only drawbacks are that Mumaith got little to dance and Chiru's dance sequence was a cut out from the old film, which is slightly awkward.

In conclusion Magadheera is an extremely entertaining flick which defines the words paisa vasool (one's money's worth). Don't miss it if you're looking for a fun romp. The only thing that worries me is that Telugu people are TOO proud of this movie. It's fun and well made but this shouldn't be the ONLY face of Telugu cinema. It's the perfect masala, but one shouldn't forget about other types of films.

My rating: 4+/6

Welcome post 2 and an apology!

Sorry for never taking this blog off the ground in the first place. First I had my exams and then I left for my vacation and had no access to the net. So I apologize to anyone who waited. Now I will strive for at least a weekly update. I will also post reviews of non-Indian films now and then, for variety :)

Thursday, 11 March 2010


Hello fellow Indian cinema fans! This blog will be dedicated to Indian cinema in general but you can expect a lot of posts on old Bollywood and Southern cinema. I used to write reviews on livejournal but it has become quite messy... so here's a fresh start. I'll try to force myself to update weekly - cheer for me as I usually am to lazy and / or busy to write anything at all.

Who am I? Well,  just your average fan of cinema in general who happened to stumble upon Indian cinema in 2008. So you can say I'm quite new to the subject but I'm learning fast :)

I'm Polish and obviously English isn't my first language so I apologize in advance for any mistakes. I'm actually a studying English at university, so I should be able to write decently but you never know :P