Wednesday, February 17, 2010

"Ammi Rules.... okay?"

That's the mystical Halong Bay in Vietnam. I took this picture at dusk .... and love it.
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Since you guys were keen to know what I thought of MNIK - here it is.....
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‘Ammi’ rules!
Rizwan Khan’s ammi in MNIK is the universal ammi – wise, loving, virtuous, philosophical, giving, caring, nurturing. The sort of ‘ammi’ kids these days can only fantasise about. A near-mythical ‘ammi’ who doesn’t tell her children to be grateful for the ‘quality time’ she has studiously reserved for them, but gives them all her time without even thinking about it. She even dies at the right time! But only after ensuring her disadvantaged son ( Shah Rukh Khan ) has understood the power of love and peace in our troubled world. Her precious gift sees him through all the traumas he is forced to endure later in life because his name is Khan! It is a powerful premise to base a story on – but powerful enough to create brilliant cinema? Not quite. However – and this needs to be stated strongly – it is still a film worth making and watching because of the sincerity of its intentions.An obvious and transparent sincerity that comes through even in the most clumsy and maudlin’ sequences ( particularly post-interval ). One willingly overlooks the gaucherie (those horribly embarrassing sequences of the floods in Wilhelmina ), even the triteness of the treatment, because somewhere at the back of all the confusion, is a mission statement – and that statement is moving enough to forgive the obvious gaffes.
Cinema as an instrument of social change has its limited use, for sure. But at the end of the day, cinema is about touching your heart. From that sole perspective, MNIK succeeds. And let’s face it, it succeeds because of one person alone – Shah Rukh Khan. When he as Rizwan, takes every word his ammi has ever uttered to heart and believes unconditionally in those truths, he convinces the audience to believe along with him. Goodness is the core message of the movie, and goodness it is that shines through - t
hanks to the Shah Rukh – Kaajol – Kjo magic combo. This is one of Srk’s most accomplished performances, mainly because he surrenders to the actor in him and forgets about the star ( as in a few sequences from ‘Rab ne bana di jodi’). His eyes shine with a light that spells faith – faith in his ammi, faith in his religion, faith in the world. It is almost impossible to separate Srk the man from Rizwan the character. Convincing, consistent and supremely competent, Shah Rukh Khan lives the role of a tormented, puzzled and emotionally devasted individual who genuinely believes it is possible to live by ones convictions and change the world. This is no small feat given the patchy script and slightly wonky storyline ( come on…. the guy criss-crosses such a huge country at top speed with meager resources and a severe psychological problem) . Shah Rukh Khan manages to rise above these limitations in scene after scene, taking audiences with him adopting the sort of effortlessness that only extraordinarily gifted actors can conjure. Credibility and plot flaws become secondary and unimportant as one is swept along on an emotional tidal wave that eventually overshadows all else – glitches included. Ammi’s noble, simple and compassionate words are what stay with you in the end – there are only two kinds of people in the world – those who believe in goodness and those who don’t. It is a message worth remembering before we cast the first stone.
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Our hearts are with those who lost their lives in Pune.

30 comments:

Chanz said...

I have not yet seen the movie but I guess after your review, i think i will... I have read so many reviews but none talked about his ammi... Yes they talked abt a lot of others things to attract one's attention but ammi... None..

goodluck said...

I know that you will never let down srk.Praise him to the skies whether it is RNBDJ or MNIK whereas you try to bring down the other Khan. So I take your views with lots of pinches of salt. For your information according to some trade reports, tickets are being bought in bulk to show some success whereas in other centres it is dipping inspite of the extraordinary performance of your favourite Khan. Praise your favourite by all means but dont bring down others who are consistently good.

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tanushree said...

After reading about the story, it seems quite similar in many ways to the book called 'the curious incident of the dog in the night time'..Have your read that book? I would strongly recommend reading that book as its a great book. And no, I dont think its similar just because the boy in that sory also suffers from aspergers syndrome, but he also undertakes a similar journeyto find his mother....

BHAVISH SHILA PATEL said...

Ammi,Maa,Mummy nd mom the whole world is in her "aanchal"...the first kick,the first hug,the first love,the first lession...and of course there are two types of people live in the world "ek achhe log, ek bure loag".Ammi rules...universal....is something connected both the great guys Sharukh khan and Karan johar. Is it?

Sandipan Mitra said...

How can you as well as Rajeev Masand ignore the second half even though both of you have found serious flaws in the sequence. One could forget the first part if 2nd is good, but if the 2nd is bad, it cannot leave a good after-taste. Or may be you slept off in the second half to and thus were immune from the torture.

Latha said...

Shobhaa, that was an honest review & thanx for that.
To be frank, after the kind of hate campaign you successfully launched against srk, for reasons best known to you, I never ever expected such an unbiased review from you.
Yes, I knew all the way that it was inspired by 'the curious incident of the dog in the night time'. I bought & read the award winning book a few years back & even recommended it to a few after reading about it in an interview of srk in the Reader's Digest.
I have to correct you here. Protection was not given to MNIK but to the rights of the likes of you & me to go around freely & do what we want to do without being attacked by the Sena terrorists.
Please don't get carried away by the stupid remarks of somebody here & repeat it. Such remarks would be an insul to your intelligence.
About your previous blog, I didn't even want to react to some of the racial remarks made by some regarding South Indians' eating habits & their attire. Chid's predecessor was a North Indian who didn't do half of what Chid is doing. (I know that the British introduced pants & shirts command more respect for some NRIs & our desi attire is shameful for them. Gandhiji was not wearing a western outfit. These NRIs perhaps are ashamed of his attire as well.) I could've easily retaliated citing North Indians' food habits & attire but did not do so because, 1. I didn't want to stoop to such a low level. 2. I didn't want to insult all North Indians for the sake of just two. 3. I really respect & admire their food habits, attire etc...
Chid couldn't have done anything because we need powerful anti terrorist squads & bomb squads trained for the jobs in every city, town & village & metal detectors in every place, hidden video coverages in places of threats & so on & so forth just to protect us, citizens & not the high & mighty. It would mean spending a lot of our tax money for us. When these politicians want to go abroad so often with all their batallion to spend our money, why would they spend our money for us. Chid needs a lot of money to do all this. This is not going to happen in our country. Be prepared for a regular dose of bomb blasts & attacks from across the border. Even after getting information, nothing is going to be done. They have fixed a rate for you & me. If we die in a blast, 1 lakh & if we are hospitalised, 50,000. That will shut our mouth & teach us to be grateful & wag our tails & vote for them in the next election. Sniffer dogs are not to sniff for bombs. They are status symbols for the 'rulers'.
All I can think of is Michael Jackson singing, "All I want to say is that they don't really care about us."

rt said...

Looks like a patch up being done for the damage (apparently) caused by ur remarks on SRK and co for MNIK???
SRK has always done roles like this and this is not a new fact that u came across...

Nandini said...

i think the magnificence showcased in the film is the only thing worthy of appreciation. Our audiences have always been good followers,... hype being the synonym here.
Shahrukh's performance was far from being effortless, and let's accept the fact that the story by itself would nevertheless trigger our emotions.

I think the scriptwriters should be given the final applause & not the 'stars'.

Preeti said...

madam de ..thats why i love u sooo much ..u write what u feel ..even if it chnages from day to day ..

I love SRK and am glad he is back being actor than the star that he has been portrying off late ..his eyes sparkle and speak ..worth thousand words , if someone knows how to use him and Kjo does...so the jodi is worth all the money we bet on..

goodluck said...

It is not patchup. It is an extraordinary truce with an extraordinary star.Mera favourite star is unabashed pakistani lover. So what? Whereas mera favourite scapegoat is Chids. So what? I support Sena but I dont support who try to overcome them. So what? I will never make a truce with Chids for obvious reasons. So what? I will appreciate even Dawood Ibrahim if he performs extraordinarily. So what? As Aamir Khan said only merit matters, not other things.

goodluck said...

I always love people who look well and who dress well. I hate people if they dress in south indian attire and look average or below average. Dont you remember how I made fun of the dress sense of late prime minister Narsimharao, of Narayanamurthy looking like a postmaster and now chids. So what? SRK is the best dressed person with suave manners who stole all the ladies's hearts from 6 to 90. That matters. He may sometimes say something which will offend ill dressed oily Indians So what?

Theyoginme said...

This is a gorgeous picture worth framing...

Nirbhay said...

@Latha,
Do you have an obsessive compulsive disorder? You tend to get Sena/MNS & Marathi Maanoos in every thing.Freaking Defence Minister cannot do anything about it, what do you expect from Sena.We pay "good" taxes to Fedral government and expect
competance from them.
And don't cry our Sena again.Have you heard about "Ram Sena" or "Anti North Movement" in Karnataka and tamilnadu.
Your "Dravidian" thing that formed your politics.Do you want me to remind the attacks on Tamils in Bangaluru. Common... give us a break and shut up.

Hobo ........ ........ ........ said...

(And let’s face it, it succeeds because of one person alone – Shah Rukh Khan.)
Yes, friends said He is excellent within the movie And I too agree. He is always an actor to be appreciated. He is currently superstar no doubt but only as an actor not as an actor associated with controversies for the few last years And currently He is the only actor who is associated with controversies whenever there is movie/event And maybe the only actor associated with controversies in some or other way.
Next controversy???

K A L L U said...

Hi Shobhaa,
Like you, I am an ardent fan of SRK. But, I have issues with this movie and RNBDJ. If you have watched Forrest Gump, you will agree with me that KJo has lifted so much from it in the silliest way possible. The movie is full of flaws. It is an insult to great performers like SRK and Kajol who can add magic to a simple script. I would blame KJo for making a crappy movie. He didn't even spare the Jenny from Forrest Gump by making a Mama Jenny out of it.
I agree with you, the message is good, but the movie is crap. They could have made a 1 minute ad with this message, SRK and kajol instead of this movie!

Madhu said...

@goodluck, . I really hope you are not joking! Since when did people start loving/hating others in complete masses like entire Tamil Nadu etc(like you)

Nice movie indeed Ms De, a refreshing break after Rab Ne Banadi Jodi. But unfortunately, when something happens to someone of your own, that's when you will not be able to just say, "there are only good people and bad people and no one else". The reason I am saying this is because I have seen a close friend of mine suffer through 9/11 (brother killed) and lost a cousin in recent Mumbai blast. So, when you actually are in the trauma, you will tend to loose hope.

Sidhusaaheb said...

Here's one film that I've watched thrice over the past few days:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0349878/

bindu said...

My feelings are for the families, the deceased left behind.

Nirbhay said...

@Shobha,
Please review movies as "Natrang" & "Jogwa" also.It will help Marathi industry which seems to be reinventing "Cinema".

ms said...

mz de, please tell me that you do see the similarities between forrest gump, rainman and MNIK! people look at me blankly when i mention this and so, unless you say it, it will not be true! forrest gump meets so many disappointments and discrimination even though he doesn't belong to a minority religion. what if KJ had made a simple adaptation of the movie into hindi - like he is doing with "stepmom". i am worried now that KJ's version of "stepmom" will have julia roberts character as a naxalite fighting the corrupt WB govt or a victim of the pune blast or a brave kashmiri woman standing up to terrorists. please help.

Gajendra said...

from what I have read the movie sucks....

malini said...

MS- lmao- true true.. Kuch bhi ho sakta hai.. But forest gump and mnik??

meluboy said...

I agree MNIK is made with a lot of sincerity and good will………………it is truly
a powerful subject to make a film on and one which could have had wide spread appeal. However the films patchy script is one of its major flaws.....some of the scenes in the 2nd half were downright embarrassing and naïve…..far far from brilliant cinema !!

parwatisingari said...

shobha you let me down badly, I always quote your take on Indian girls finding role models in their mothers and immediate family. and you call the Ammi of today a fantasy.
honey I am a reality, and my daughters depend on me, so is my mother, and so is her mother. You are a reality too, ask Avantika and the others.
CAIO

Vik said...

Hello Ms. De! Hope you are well. This was my rant when I saw MNIK. For some reason, I enjoy most films...but this was ONE that made an exception. Friends and family often ask me for my 'review'...and when I tell them that I didn't like so and so film, they say but THIS newspaper gave it 5 stars and THAT critic gave it 10! So here is what I had to say to them...
My Name is Con is a SHIT film. It was overwrought with cliches. And absolutely unredeemable. Give Shibani 'Fanaa' Bathija to someone genius like Raju Hirani, even he won't be able to salvage the film! Her writing is so flawed! Now Nikhat Kazmi is a wannabe film critic. Just like me. What started off as a passion for watching films and her stint at Indiatimes, unfortunately, made her the chief critic for "THE" TOI...the darling newspaper of our ilk. She gave Partner 4 stars. And the pen became mightier than the sword when it became a blockbuster. However, she usually plays it safe with 3 stars. Depending on how many 'stars' there are in the film.
Rajeev Masand met SRK in London. And in the US while MNIK was being shot. He obviously is a victim of SRK's charms. And KJo's PR machinery. Why only him...think Amit Uncle, Yash Uncle, Kajal, Bebo, Lolo, Dabboo Uncle, Rani, PZ, Saifoo, Farhan, Salma Aunty, Chintu Uncle... on Koffee with KKKaran and the whole film frat is going gaga over his labour of asperger's syndrome. Easy no? Besides, my point is the so-called Film Critics only give an opinion. You, as a discerning audience, need to decide what works for you and what doesn't. Like Don worked for you. And Jhoom Barabar Jhoom for me (lol). Surely, Khalid Mohd's Silsilay must've worked for some.
The success of MNIK has baffled me almost as much as the success of Avatar. Stars and Special Effects are clearly the true heroes. It frustrates me. But as I said, I am no film critic. And I am not the collective audience. I just have a mind of my own.

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