La Cinematique critiques chez Hira

So being a pretty bland/blonde person now that I’m married and under no pressure to seem interesting, I can do little more than provide you with my expert take on all that Hollywood (and pirated DVD distributors) have to offer. Ergo I proudly present…

La Cinematique critiques chez Hira


Ok, so it’s not Hollywood, but it sure as hell could be. Actually no, it couldn’t be- the great Celluloidistan is the Gobi Desert when it comes to creativity and guts. Aside from the Coen’s and Tarantino (with a smattering of Clooney) Hollywood lacks the daring and panache that embodies crazy good cinema; Cannes (the only film festival I actually respect) rarely showcases mainstream Hollywood productions; and practically never gifts them the Palm d’Or. Why should they? They’re Europeans. They have taste.

So. Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, Dev.D. Wait a bit while I moon over the hotness that is Abhey Deol.


Ok. I’m done.

Shadeed sexypan aside, Abhey Deol is the smartest actor in Mumbai. Unlike Bobby Deol who still lives in the glory of the 90’s; Abhey’s been smart enough to realize that Indian cinemagoers are gradually maturing as an audience. Young people no longer want to watch women in red sundresses disco on the Alps; they want intelligent, if still a bit melodramatic cinema. They want to relate now, they don’t want to escape.

So after Socha Na Tha, Ek Chalis ki Last Local and Oye Lucky Lucky Oye!, I was pretty sure Abhey Deol wouldn’t be in a crappy movie… average, maybe; but not a stomach-upsetting, tear inducing, mind bogglingly bad film like Love Aaj Kal or Kambakht Ishq. But Dev.D surpassed all expectations. Firstly, there are no good guys. Secondly, there are no bad guys. Thirdly, there is not a single scene in this movie that doesn’t make you think that Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s interpretation of Devdas (in fact, any interpretation of Devdas) is one- dimensional, and characterless. After all, who is Devdas? Is he anything but an alcoholic in love? Is he anything, or anyone at all?

You can’t truly relate to Devdas because Devdas is no one. He’s the ideal of love’s labor lost. There is nothing to him except that he did not marry Paro. And there is nothing, absolutely nothing to Paro.


Dev.D is not Devdas. Or maybe he is- the Devdas that Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay created. A man who loved possessively and obsessively; not Paro, but the ideal of Paro. Whose arrogance made him incapable of moving on; and innate hypocrisy incapable of returning love. Dev.D hasn’t sugarcoated anything. It’s harsh and unsympathetic to everyone but Chanda; and that’s how it should be. The movie may have played a bit with Paro and Chandarmukhi’s character, but Devdas is exactly as he was meant to be; no stuttering, sighing ShahRukh anywhere. Just a gorgeously average, very nicely structured, sometimes shirtless Abhay Deol. Isn’t that a good trade off?

I hope Sayem’s reading this 😀

Something tells me that 2010 will be a pretty decent year for Indian movies. Who knows, maybe this year my husband will manage to stay awake through one. If Dev.D is anything to go by, Indian cinema has a lot more to offer than scantily dressed post-teens and Akshay in a turban.

Inglourious Basterds

(this one’s for you, Mahw)

a)      It’s Tarantino

b)      It’s history- ergo something that’s already happened, ergo, not much you can do with it, ergo no way you can kill off the entire Third Reich leadership in one night like the Allies may have wanted, ergo not really up to Pulp Fiction standard but

c)      It’s Tarantino. You don’t mess with Tarantino.

I’m a connoisseur. I’m also probably the only bonafide Tarantino expert in this city so what I say goes. It’s not the best he’s done; but it’s one hell of a film anyway.

I’ll tell you why it’s not the best; it doesn’t have the dash of lemon-in-soda effect that a usual Tarantino does. That camera angle, that blasé what-the-fuck-? moment that always precedes a WHAT-THE-FUCK!?  moment (Mia sniffing and ODing while Vince is in the bathroom; Louis shooting and killing Melanie in the parking lot; The Bride finding out her daughter’s alive), that lengthy pop culture explanatory monologue that bores you to death until you realize that it’s probably the most profound cinematic discussion coming out of Hollywood until the next Tarantino film…Basterds isn’t chockfull of these things but it makes up for it in other Quent oddities. For one, it goes apeshit with history. Not poetic license apeshit, actual I-don’t-like-the-real-ending-so-I’ll-change-it-because-I’m-Tarantino-and-I-can apeshit.

Two, it has the Jew Hunter.

Christoph Waltz just won the Golden Globe; I’m surprised someone had the guts to stand close enough to give it to him. The man scared the living hell out of me. It’s without doubt the best performance I’ve seen in a long time. Ever, if you just count Tarantino movies (and that’s a big thing). Breathtakingly charming, almost seducingly courteous, he is the smiling Anti-Santa. You just have to love every scene he’s in, and yet be terrified of what he’s probably going to do. Pure genius.

As for the Basterds; sure they were there, sure they were killing Nazis, sure they had Brad Pitt as a redneck for a boss, blah blah whatever. Bring on Hans Landa baby, and watch me cower behind that curtain.

So let me sum it up:

Pros: Hans Landa, Shosanna Dreyfuss’s revenge, Emergence of the Bear Jew, Massacre at the tavern, Brad Pitt’s miserable Italian.

Cons: Hitler (can they not cartoonify the man? For once I’d like him portrayed as an actual person, not a caricature), the irritating-as-hell-but-still-only-doing-his-job Zoller (for some reason I couldn’t help feeling sorry for him)

Result: People die badly, and creatively, and it’s so much fun to watch. We’re all sick, sick, sick.

So, for next time, look forward to Sherlock Holmes, The Men who stare at goats, Bad Lieutenant: Port of call New Orleans, and Invictus.

Love you all, God Bless!

PS- I’m such a ham.

3 Responses to “La Cinematique critiques chez Hira”
  1. Minerva says:

    Okay apart from you stating that it wasn’t Tarantino’s best (which is where you and I disagree) this was a KICKASS review!! I couldn’t have said it better myself.. and I’ve been trying to get the words together right for Hans Landa myself.. you did it better than I ever could!! Kudos!!

    Sherlock Holmes was pretty good too. And oh, I know “Precious” is supposed to be all critically acclaimed and filled with wonderful performances and all.. but watching a girl being raped by her father while she fantasizes about being in a music video is a little too much for my mental capacities right now. Sorry. :/

    Still haven’t seen Dev-D. Saw “Up in the Air” and “It’s Complicated” the other day. George Clooney was good – though nowhere NEAR as good as Waltz. Meryl Streep – well, she kicked ass in Julie and Julia .. It’s Complicated was just another … flick.

    Will be watching Invictus and Men Who Stare At Goats in a day or two. Keep us posted, Hiraness. Keep blogging.

  2. Minerva says:

    Also watch “The Blind Side” … the Bullock award-winner.

  3. some says:

    loved dev d

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