Not a Harry Potter review

Fandango is probably the best thing designed since the vibrator. No other invention has made a man’s patience this unnecessary. All I can say is that at least one of them doesn’t levy a convenience charge.

Sunday morning, or rather afternoon (Sunday afternoons are bowdlerized as mornings), I booked tickets for me and my two friends N and U to the last Harry Potter movie. I sorta owed it to Rowling. You know, the single mom who imagined and articulated her way to billions was really desperate for my opinion. What can I say, I wasn’t always the thoughtful, well-adjusted blogger I am now (nudge, wink). I was, I’m not ashamed to say, a Potter-nerd. As and when they come up with a new movie where Danny boy shows us his constipation face and smiles his way to millions to probably finance his horse-f**king histrionics, I regress into nerdvana and well…I just have to watch.

Let me clarify: I’m not one of those stick up the ass bibliophiles who always insists that the book is better than the movie, but in this case, come on…Rowling spins webs with her words that others can barely convey through CGI. The Potter movies started out being pretty bad, but the last couple of movies (Half Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows Part One), have been dark, gloomy and frankly a little spooky. Kind of like the movie and the actors have grown up with the viewers.

I rarely watch a movie without hearing from a couple of people whether it’s worth the money, and sure enough, Roger Ebert gave me his thumbs up, not to mention the sage advice of skipping the 3D version. Of course, not everyone is as smart as yours truly; so while the lesser intellectuals are scrambling for a chance to overpay for 3D, we will saunter into the regular theater take our reward for foresight.

There we were at the Regal Cinemas at Union Square just ten minutes before the movie started, and sure enough, we couldn’t see three seats together unless you wanted to sit right up against the screen after which you’d feel like you just blew Alan Rickman for two hours.

Image courtesy

    And that expression still didn’t change

The thing is, having an IQ in the 98th percentile still leaves about six and a half million competitors in the US alone, and most of them had already taken their seats.

I took a sufferable single seat and sat down while N and U searched for their side-by-side watching experience. N, of course, had bought the forearm-cramp sized popcorn bucket and two cups of coke so large I thought I saw Noah’s ark somewhere inside. He handed me one of the cokes, which in a movie should really come with a free bladder enlargement, or at the very least, an express pass to the restroom.

And oh yeah…the movie was pretty awesome! If you wanna read a real review of the movie, I suggest you go here and here.


Rab ne banal di thodi

After much ballyhoo and brouhaha that would take pages of this blog to fill, I reached Sahar airport (Yes, I refuse to call it Chatrapati Shivaji, get over it). One night of tossing and turning and a morn beset by jet lag slowly morphed into my sister dragging me to the latest SRK movie, “Rab ne bana di jodi.” It came highly recommended by her friends, which should have been my first warning, which I did not heed. Nonetheless, I found myself in the movie hall, watching previews of a movie called New York, which seems to be akin to the oft-beaten drum of Muslims in post-9/11 USA. Forget that.
The movie opens promisingly enough, with SRK in his simplest clothes, wearing a fresh, un-starlike look that impressed me and convinced me that even Yash Raj films has come of age. A blushing bride, too pretty for him to have obtained her under circumstances other than the tragic death of her original ‘would-be’, and sure enough, that is what happened. Kudos to the banner for cutting to the chase initially, instead of vacillating on tears and trials.
Kudos to the peppy music, thumbs down to the intellectually numbing lyrics. Back to the story. Imagine a man who thinks that he is too uncool for his wife to be considered a suitable husband to her. Compound that with the fact that she is recovering from the loss of her real love and her father. Garnish it with her bold statement that she can never love her husband but would strangle her dreams to be an ideal wife. This is SRK’s position as he keeps sharing with his suggestively gay-seeming hairdresser friend (played to perfection by Vinay Pathak). SRK metamorphosizes to a cool (using the term loosely) chiseled version to capture the girl’s attention with innuendo and slapstick humor. 
While he succeeds in interesting her enough to become her friend, he realizes that the more she falls for the new guy, the further she is getting from the boring original guy he is. This ego conflict is the only part of the movie worth intelligent analysis, and as usual, Aditya Chopra has left a lot to be desired in this department. He fails to capitalize on the fact that he has an actor with potential (see Swades) in SRK, and a wonderful angle to exploit. 
Instead he sticks to the familiar pandering to the Indian culture where a woman is supposed to love her husband no matter what. He dresses it up in a deceptive tone of “Mujhe isme rab dikhta hai”, but be not fooled, it is the same Bhagwan ne hamein jodiyon mein banaya hai crap.
Many reviewers have written pages on the fact that the new girl can barely act but shows her body well. Don’t even bother with the fact that a woman cannot recognize her own husband when comes sans moustache and in tight t-shirts.
All in all, like a typical Yash Raj movie, this one is an insult to human intelligence, with glimpses of cuteness that are so few that they need to be filed under the topic of sheer chance. SRK does a decent job as the shy, unassuming, bumbling Suri-the power company worker, Vinay Pathak does a nice job, and newbie Anushka Sharma is strictly okay. Honestly, some movies need to come with a refund option, but then again, what can one do about the lost three hours that we can never get back?