Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Lunchbox – The Real Taste of Cinema…Don’t Miss it

Disclaimer – Get carried away by all the praises about this movie. Unfortunately, it’s not biased at all!

A simple story can be a great story. Every story doesn't need to have highs and lows, action and drama, romance and comedy. There are some stories which don’t have any of these but they are great stories. The Lunchbox is one such rare piece in the world of cinema.

The backdrop is the running and busy Mumbai, but it is never forced in the movie. There is a common working man Saajan Fernandes played by Irfaan Khan who is about to retire from his work next month and then live peacefully in Nasik. A housewife and mother named Ila, played by Nimrat Kaur is trying to revive the love in her married life.

They connect to each other through the Mumbai’s famous Dabbawallas who wrongly delivers the lunchbox meant for her husband to Irfaan Khan.
There are letter exchanges between them but more importantly it connects the different human emotions of life and the small joys that one misses in life.

The film has few other characters which make you feel good about the life you have and are crafted so carefully that you don’t find a single flaw in their character.
Irfaan Khan has established himself as one of the best actors ever in the Indian cinema and he seems just irreplaceable from the stone faced yet emotional Saajan fernandes.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui as his trainee has blended truly in his role of a young, street smart and honest man.
Nimrat Kaur is another spontaneous actor who fits so well in the lead actor role.

Hats off to Ritesh Batra for giving us such a movie which taste will linger over so many years. The film never forces itself on the viewers and it never stretches away or makes your heart full of emotions. It just teases you with right proportion of human emotions like the best lunch you can ever have.

It’s sad that this film has not been nominated for the Oscars Foreign category from India, as it’s undoubtedly one of the best Indian films of all times.

There is nothing wrong in this film and it deserves a 5/5 rating.

Don’t miss this film.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Phata Poster Nikla Hero – Don’t expect too much, just sit back and enjoy

Phata Poster Nikla Hero Movie Review

Phata Poster Nikla Hero; the title itself suggests that this is a typical Bollywood masala. A lot of veteran Bollywood directors don’t like to experiment much with the subject and follow the regular formula of a Bollywood hit; that is a mix of comedy, emotion, romance and action. Phata Poster Nikla Hero is a regular kind of film from the ace director Raj Kumar Santoshi who has earlier given the cult comedy Bollywood movie like Andaaz Apna Apna and films like Ghayal, Damini and Shaheed Bhagat Singh.

PPNH is about a young man; Shahid Kapoor who has dreams of becoming a hero in the films while his widowed mother played by Padmini Kolhapure nurses the dream of making him an honest police officer.

His fate brings him to Mumbai and then the film follows in the footsteps of Munna Bhai MBBS and Dabang. However, the director is honest to accept about the inspiration from Munnai Bhai MBBS in a scene.

The film has some of the most accomplished comedy actors like Sanjay Mishra, Saurabh Shukla and Mukesh Tiwari who will make you laugh with their unique style. However, the films loose a bit in the screenplay area as most of the humour is created through one liner than the situational scenes.
The confusion drama doesn't hold for long and this is what it prevents the film from being an average movie to a good movie.

Shahid Kapoor has returned to the screen with his comfort area which is comedy and he does it well. Ileana looks good, though there is not much for her to act. This is a return movie for yesteryear successful actress, Padmini kolhapure and she has tried hard to act and look like a mother.
Zakir Hussain as a corrupt but stupid police officer does exceedingly well in this humorous role. He is another versatile actor who has done well in different kinds of roles.

The film doesn't bore you and neither its long, but it lacks the strong punch of Dabang or the feel good factor of Munna Bhai MBBS or the crazy comedy of Andaaz Apna Apna.

It’s an average movie from Rajkumar Santoshi which doesn’t disappoint you but doesn't delight you. Overall, it’s a decent family watch in the weekend over popcorn and colas. 

Rating : 3/5

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Bodhgaya Travel Diary - A trip to enlightenment

Even after staying for a continuous 18 years in Bihar, I had never been to Bodhgaya till my only maiden visit recently. I had not undervalued the importance of this place, but at the same time I was not curious enough to visit this place. Thanks to my wife, who forced me to travel to Bodhgaya and made me realise the importance of this place in the world history.

Bodhgaya is the place from where Buddha attained his enlightenment. Of, all the four pilgrimage places for Buddhists in world, i.e. Bodhgaya, Kushinagar, Lumbini and Sarnath; the most sacred and important is Bodhgaya. Bodhgaya is located in Bihar state of India, near the banks of the river Neranjana.

We traveled on 14th Aug 2013 from Patna, the state capital of Bihar by road. The driver was unknown about the route, so we took help of Google navigation. We took the route Patna-Bakthiyarpur road and then NH83 which passes through Jahanabad town.

The whole journey of 115 Km took us around 4.5 hours with a refreshment stop of 20 minutes at Jahanabad. Please note that one has to be extra careful while stopping at Jahanabad as this town is infected with naxal terrorism.

Our first stop at Bodhgaya was Mahabodhi temple. This temple was built by the King Ashoka who was the ruler of Magadh in around 400 B.C. The temple is the place where Gautam Siddharth at the age of 29 had achieved enlightenment in around 588 B.C after meditating for 6 years in Bodhgaya.

The tree, known as Bodhitree is the sampling of Maha Bodhi tree from Srilanka which is considered a sampling of the original Peepal tree under which Gautam Buddha had meditated and attained enlightenment. The place was extremely serene even though there were lots of devotees in the temple. There were monks; old, young and children who were chanting or meditating under the trees in the garden. I guess, this tranquility of monastery has got such soothing effect on the devotees that they always want to come back again and again.

I was lucky to meet an old monk from Thailand who tied a yellow sacred thread on my wrist. He asked me to chant Su-Kha-Ti. I don't even know that whether I heard the chant properly, but the gesture and motive of the monk was kind for sure. The chord of humanity is much more important than the lines of any chant in this world.

Bodhgaya is at least 15 Km from the town Gaya, which is a very crowded and congested place. Bodhgaya is full of monasteries and temples built by 10 different countries like Japan, China, Thailand, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Nepal, Myanmar, Srilanka and few more. The temples built by China, Japan and Thailand seemed to have the most beautiful architecture among all of them.

There is also a giant Buddha statute of height of 80 ft built by Japan which makes you think about the greatness of Lord Buddha.

The tourist seasons starts from October as the winter arrives in India. During those months the town is buzzing with tourists from all over the world and one gets to taste authentic delicacies of different countries.

The place has left a lasting impression on me and my wife and has forced me to study more about Lord Buddha and his teachings. Buddhism is one of the oldest religion that had originated around 400-500 B.C. This was probably before even the Hindu mythology Ramayana and Mahabharata happened.

There are lots of unanswered questions in front of me.

Bihar is the origin of Buddhism but why there is such less following of Buddhism in Bihar state in India?

Why people worship and follow Buddha so much even though he had left his family and domestic life to wander in search of enlightenment?

Buddhism promotes a lot about peaceful and simple living to its followers yet we see some of the Buddhist nations have been actively engaged in wars with other countries. I understand that no religion promotes war but still this is an unanswered question about Buddhism.

The visit to Bodhgaya has made me wanting to read a lot about Buddha and Buddhism. Hope, I am able to take out time soon to pursue my knowledge about Buddhism and can get some enlightenment about life.