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Leaving Home: The life and music of Indian Ocean
Even though, India produces largest number of Films in the world, however, Documentary films never get released theatrically. In fact this is the first documentary releasing nationwide in India.

This documentary, tells the story about 4 band members of Indian Contemporary band called Indian Ocean. I had heard about only song of Indian Ocean called Bandeh from Anurag Kashyap's movie Black Friday, which was based on 1993 bomb blasts which took place in Bombay.

This docky shows the various background of the four band members, talks about there influences, it talks also about people who had joined the band and eventually left and how they feel about the band now. Further, it talks about how the band is affected by enivormental issues like Naramada Dam, Hindu-Muslim rights, and how they try to reach the people through their music.

Above all, it also talks about how one should strive on what one is passionate about, instead of falling into societal pressure. The only minus point I found was that the concert scenes should have been better shot.

This is one of those few movies' which makes you understand life is all about the 7 letter word called 'passion'.

Contributed by: Mohinder Pal Singh 
City: Kolkata
Country: India
Date: July 18, 2010

The Great Indian Butterfly
English films made in India are more often than not a scary proposition. They are written with the western audience in mind, tend to be pretentious and harp solely on the grime and poverty over and above the storyline or the plot. The Great Indian Butterfly comes as a relief. The film has been made for an international audience but chooses to focus on the lives of a young DINK (double income no kids) couple who due to adverse circumstances are forced to question the very basis of their existence.

Mira (Sandhya Mridul) and Krish (Amir Bashir) are a yuppie couple who have spent the last few years of their lives climbing the ladder of success. They are supposed to take off for their much-needed annual vacation. But a stressed out Krish goofs up and they miss their flight. Since they are unable to obtain fresh reservations at short notice they decide to travel by road. This vacation is especially important for Krish as he has been searching for The Great Indian Butterfly. This butterfly can only be found in the remote Cardiguez valley in Goa. If found it will bring immense happiness to the captor.

Does this butterfly really exist? Or are Krish and Meera involved in a senseless search simply to avoid thinking about the vacuum in their own lives. During the course of their journey, they look into their existence. Apart from Mira and Krish there is just Lisa (Koel Purie) Krish's one time girlfriend. Is he still involved with Lisa? Does he plan to dump his wife at the first opportunity? Or is Krish as confused as Mira?

They have been spending so much time apart, this forced proximity becomes difficult for both of them to handle. A film with no definite storyline and the complete absence of additional characters is not an easy proposition even for a veteran director. And this is Sarthak Das Gupta's maiden venture. But it is entirely to the director's credit that he manages to keep us involved in the couple's lives.

The script isn't entirely cliche-free and does adhere to conventional thought patterns. Still it's an interesting attempt which works most of the time. Barry John has a small role which ideally could have been a lot smaller. The audience isn't stupid or unintelligent that the central idea of the film should be thrown at them every 15-20 minutes.

The narrative flows mainly due to the spirited performances by the lead pair. Most especially Sandhya Mridul! A versatile actress, she's almost always cast as the tough, I-don't-give-a-damn character, which I think suits her best. But she also reveals a softer side to her personality. She conveys her pain, her grief as effectively as her brashness. Over the years she has developed a fantastic figure and looks hot through most of the film.

Yet she unhesitatingly faces the camera with minimal make-up, tousled hair and in a crumpled nightshirt and not to mention the quckie changing of her t-shirt and strapless bra!

Matching pace with her is Amir's calmer and restrained performance. But he's a fine actor too.

Koel Purie doesn't have much to do but she's convincing. Since the film has been shot in Goa, they've used non-actors for small inconsequential roles. And they tend to stare into the camera or smile at each other. One of the occupational hazards of working with amateurs!

The dialogues are crisp, witty and sprinkled with F-words. Under no circumstances should this film ever be viewed on TV so many words will be edited out …It would be difficult to make sense of what is left. It's a film for multiplex audiences and is best seen there.

The film was surely shot years ago going by the cell phones and laptops we see in the film. But it doesn't look dated.

Absolutely a must for those who've liked Sandhya Mridul in her earlier roles. Or those who thrive on tales of marital strife. For the rest there's always a film worth seeing.

Contributed by: Mohinder Pal Singh
City: Warsaw
Country: Poland
Date: June 3, 2010

Wake up Sid
Wake Up Sid is a 2009 Hindi romantic comedy film. It is directed by Ayan Mukerji, produced by Karan Johar's Dharma Productions. The film takes place in contemporary Mumbai and tells the story of spoiled, careless rich-kid Sid Mehra (Ranbir Kapoor), a college student who is taught the meaning of life by Aisha (Konkona Sen Sharma), an aspiring writer from Kolkata.

Siddharth "Sid" Mehra is the spoiled, care-free son of wealthy businessman Ram Mehra (Anupam Kher). A resident of Mumbai, his only interest is to have fun with friends and to spend his father's money. Thus, he spends little time at college and is not prepared for the exit exams. His father however, not being aware of this fact, tells Sid it is time to join his company, which Sid reluctantly does only after his father tempts him with the promise of a new car.

Meanwhile, Sid meets Aisha (Konkona Sen Sharma) a woman from Kolkata, who is an aspiring writer. On their first meeting, they go out on a walk along the streets of Mumbai. Sid shows her the city and takes her to Marine drive by the sea. Sid tells her that one of the fascinating things of being in Mumbai is its luscious monsoon. They seem to strike a chord instantly and a friendship ensues. Sid helps her to find (and furnish) her own apartment. She also lands a job with Mumbai Beat, (based on Time Out! Mumbai) a hip magazine run by the handsome, sophisticated editor-in-chief Kabir (Rahul Khanna). On the eve of her 27th birthday Aisha invites Sid to her place because she does not want to be alone. When Sid tentatively explores moving their relationship beyond friendship, he finds that Aisha perceives him as boyish and immature. Despite feeling hurt, he maintains his friendship with her.

Their relationship intensifies when the exam results come out and Sid finds that he fails. His failure leads to a family fight that ends with him moving out of the house. With nowhere to go, Sid (who has never been on his own), asks Aisha if he can stay with her. Aisha is initially happy to have the company (although she clarifies that his stay is purely platonic). Eventually, however, Sid's bad habits revive themselves as he leaves her place a mess and makes the kind of demands on her that he is used to making on everyone. When she finds he has not eaten all day, Aisha is amused by the fact that Sid cannot cook and does not know how to feed himself. Over time however, Sid learns that to survive in the world he has to begin cooking and cleaning. He has also realized he must work and Aisha helps him become a photography intern at the magazine she works for.

Aisha who had a crush on her boss, editor in chief Kabir, is ecstatic when he selects her article for the magazine and also asks her out on a live jazz performance. However as she goes out with him, she realizes she does not much in common with Kabir. Meanwhile, she slowly realizes her feelings towards Sid and understands she is in love with him.

As Sid begins working, he finds meaning in life and realizes that there are more options than working in a standard corporate environment. He also begins to see for the first time how his behavior has hurt everyone he loves and that he needs to change his ways. After he is hired as full-time staff and receives his first pay check, he confronts his father. They reconcile and Sid's father asks him to come home. Sid, who often feels a burden to Aisha, tells her that he won't be dependent on her charity anymore and expects her to be thrilled. He doesn't realize that Aisha has fallen in love with him and thus is furious to hear that he is leaving. Their departure is a hostile one and Sid leaves without resolution.

When Sid comes back home from Aisha's place, he thinks constantly of Aisha. However, he remembers that she had told him they can only be friends and so he does not consider that she might share his feelings. When the latest issue of Mumbai Beat arrives, Sid reads Aisha's column and is startled to discover that it is about her feelings for him. As the rain starts pouring, he rushes to go and meet her at the same beach where they had sat the very first day they had met each other. Sid expresses his love for her and the two embrace each other.

Contributed by: Mohinder Pal Singh
City: Warsaw
Country: Poland
Date: June 3, 2010

Fruit and Nut
"Fruit And Nut" is a film which casts Cyrus Broacha, Dia Mirza, Boman Irani, Mahesh Manjrekar, Rajit Kapoor and is Directed by: Kunal Vijaykar, is neither sweet as a fruit not crunchy as a nut. In fact the best way to describe it is that its makers must have actually gone totally nuts in sanctioning a film - if it can actually be termed so - like this. 

It is one thing to go bizarre, break the norms and come up with a quirky affair, but it's an altogether different thing if the makers become completely overconfident, try to be extra smart and ultimately fall flat on their face. 

"Fruit And Nut" falls in the latter category. For a movie that has been sold as a quickie comedy, there is not even a single scene that actually makes you roll with laughter. At most, there could be a faint smile or two at a few junctures. The film by itself is not even silly enough to be laughed at, if not laughed along with. 

In fact the latter half is so unbearable that you actually contemplate walking out of the auditorium. Thankfully, it is the 'unusual suspect' Mahesh Manjrekar who actually manages to make you at least remain seated till the end credits start rolling. 

"Fruit And Nut" tries to pack a lot in the overall narrative by introducing newer situations and characters practically every 10 minutes. Cyrus Broacha is a loser who doesn't fit into any role, whether it is being an office clerk, radio jockey, watchman or even a help at a pizza shop. He fumbles at every step, literally so. Exaggeration is the name of the game here and though one understands where director Kunal was coming from when he created a character like this, it becomes a little too much to digest just 15 minutes into the film. 

Dia Mirza as the "lady in sari" is a pleasant watch though and carries a touch-me-not persona around her for most of the film. As a young woman who has been kidnapped, she does exude vibes of being someone who deserves to be rescued. However, the kidnapper in question, Boman Irani, gets annoying at places with his 'Breakfast Kiya' phrase. Of course the purpose here was to irritate but then there is always a thin line between an irritating character and an irritating actor. 

Thankfully, this is where Mahesh Manjrekar comes in handy as his one liners do manage to bring on smiles at frequent intervals. Yes, just like all other characters in the film, he too is quite bizarre. One doesn't quite mind that since the dialogues mouthed by him - a mix of Hindi, English and plain gibberish - belong to never-heard before variety. His novelty too starts fading as the reels progress. 

In between all this 'hardly amusing' madness, there are additional characters like the villain's henchmen, a cop, hired assassins Salim & Sulaiman, a beggar turned RAW agent and a scientist - all of whom only make this 100-minute film seem like double its length. 

In the past, there have been quite a few quirky movies made and all have met with diverse results. "Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd" worked while "Bheja Fry" paved the way for many more humorous films to come. However, in the last few months, there have also been releases like "Aagey Se Right" and "Quick Gun Murugan", none of which managed to make any impact whatsoever at the box office. 

"Fruit And Nut" is probably all set to suffer a worse fate at the theaters.