November 22nd, 2016


Movie Critique 2016 – 07/11/2016: Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro

Continuing with the critiques I started in 2015, here is the next in series – a movie review.
Prologue: Go here.

Stars:  5 / 5
Recommendation: A successful satirical comedy that will hit you in the face giving you a dose of much needed reality.

Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro ( = Let It Go, Friends) is a 1983 hit Hindi Comedy film that takes a satirical approach on the corruption in Indian politics, press, and businesses. The movie cast a myriad of characters who have had played their roles in one way or another as comedian actors or non-mainstream roles. It went on to become a super hit getting it's Director Kundan Shah Indira Gandhi Award for Best First Film of a Director that year.

The plot opens with two professional photographers, Vinod Chopra (portrayed by Naseeruddin Shah) and Sudhir Mishra (portrayed by Ravi Baswani) opening a photo studio - Beauty Photo Studio - in the prestigious Haji Ali area in Mumbai. They have a disastrous start, especially when a competitive photo studio - Super Photo Studio owned by Ashok Namboodirippad (portrayed bu Satish Kaushik) and Priya (portrayed by Neena Gupta) - opens up a few stores ahead.

After at three month struggle, assistant editor Kamdar (portrayed by Rajesh Puri) of the local newspaper Khabardar ( = Caution) comes to them with an assignment. Khabardar's main agenda is to expose the lives of rich and famous whose Editor is Shoba Sen (portrayed by Bhakti Barve). A similar secret assignment is given to them - expose the dealings of the famous and unscrupulous builder Tarneja (portrayed by Pankaj Kapoor) and the corrupt Municipal Commissioner D'Mello (portrayed by Satish Shah). Khabardar newspaper used to deal with Super Photo Studio prior to giiving assignments to Beauty Photo Studio but Ashok and Neena are Tarneja's team and they curb all the evidence that the newspaper want to gather. Hence the assignment goes to Beauty Photo Studio.

The duo start their investigation and identify a third partner in the crime, another builder Ahuja (portrayed by Om Puri). Along-side they also participate in a photography contest for a prize money of Rs. 5000. In the process they capture Tarneja killing someone. Now the movie continues with how the duo Vinod and Sudhir try to identify the one who was murdered, make every effort to collect evidence and in the process expose the three corrupt men along with their goons and henchemen / women.

Although the movie was not a successful one upon its release, the movie was made when all of these characters were either beginning their careers or have set one foot into the door of Indian film world. That may be perhaps they have given their best. The timing of the comedy is impeccable with hilarious dialogues. Every scene is memorable making this movie a cult classic. There are certain scenes that really hit you in the pit of the stomach giving you a slap of the reality. Yet the reality has not changed a bit in 33 years in fact it increased ten fold.
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Movie Critique 2016 – 07/12/2016: Samskruthi

Continuing with the critiques I started in 2015, here is the next in series – a movie review.
Prologue: Go here.

Stars:  4.5 / 5
Recommendation: Picture always speaks volumes and this short film certainly does so, all the while teaching you about the simple concept of Samskruthi.

My theme for this year has been to post reviews on the books, movies and TV shows I have read or watched. I had never had a thought if anyone would be reading them, but I still continued with my work. And then pop comes a request from my dear friend who wanted ME to post a review about his short film which was his debut direction. The request left me speechless. I am very much honored to provide my two cents. Well, here is my review of the film.

Samskruthi, simply put, means Culture and Tradition. That is exactly what Director Phaniendra Somraj (Phani) ( is conveying through this short film and much more. It was released as an internet film in March of 2016.

One of my biggest pet peeve while living in India, as a matter of fact even here, has always been - people not putting their shoes, be it of any kind, back on the shoe rack. Even at places where instructions are given, plenty of space provided, people simply don’t abide by it. End result the whole floor gets littered with shoes not only creating an ugly picture to see but also a stampede to find your own footwear later. But I never took to the task to arrange others footwear either as shown in the movie. I am floored that Phani has taken this as his basis for his debut film.

The beginning of the movie has tunes from just two instruments (if I am not mistaken) - Finger Cymbals and the Temple Bell - at once enfolding you in a cloak of peace. Offering flowers and incense to even a small idol of a God, a tradition so simple and so ancient filled with belief is depicted within very first few frames - perfectly setting the stage for the viewer. The frustration on the father's face is shown through the rapid beats of the Ghungroo aka Musical Anklets (More about Ghungroo here) - no word uttered yet all the message conveyed.

In the end, a simple act of selflessness by the father not only teaches the child about the concept of pay it forward but also set an example to others in a very very positive way.

With the help of few frames, simple music and minimal words, Phani has shown us what one cannot send across by speaking volumes or writing chapters. Very cleverly done and an amazing effort for a debut film. Looking forward to see more from him.

Congratulations and Best of Luck, Phani.

Spoiler Alerts:
1) As acknowledged in the description of the video, the Sloka at the beginning of the film is incorrectly spelt. Here is the correct one (and this was the only reason for me to take away half a star. Sorry, Phani!).

Karaagre Vasate Laksshmih, Karamadhye Sarasvati |
Karamuule Tu Govindah, Prabhaate Karadarshanam ||
Translated as: (Copied from a different site)
At the Top of the Hand (i.e. Palm) Dwell Devi Lakshmi and at the Middle of the Hand Dwell Devi Saraswati,
At the Base of the Hand Dwell Sri Govinda; Therefore one should Look at one's Hands in the Early Morning and contemplate on Them.

2) Don't miss our very own Director in the film too - he is seen walking away from the temple eating the prasadam ( = Offerings to God) in a disposable bowl. If you want to know more about it, here is his website: Feel free to stop by.