Utterly dull monday... but what beautiful light! And delightful weather! The shawls are out. And trust our Bollywood hotties to climb into heavy duty boots as soon as the mercury dips a little! I hear Delhi socialites are draped in fur, like they'd need to be if they were in Moscow or Helsinki. It's a lovely feeling to shiver a little in Mumbai and get those light Pashmina stoles out of mothballs.My desire to devour hot gajjar halwa is overwhelming! But I'll happily settle for the yummy fresh cream and strawberries cake they serve at 'Wasabi' for special occasions. My daughter Anandita tells me the high tea at the Sea Lounge is exceptionally good, too. Sigh! Toujour Taj Memories!
This appeared in Bombay Times today...
When one watches crores of rupees being blown up in clumsy action scenes as cars pile up on cars, and random bombs go off in the distance, it is time to pick up the carton of half -eaten pop corn and beat a hasty retreat from the cinema hall. Never waste good popcorn. Even more importantly, never waste precious time. I am a great one for self-punishment and have happily subjected myself to far worse films than a turkey like ‘Players’. Let’s just put it down to new year fatigue and a growing intolerance for waste on all levels, but I really couldn’t stand this three hour punishment which relied on a Johnny Lever to resolve its mighty crisis.That’s called ‘desperate’. ‘Players’ made me wonder what makes veteran movie makers back something as ridiculous and as nonsensically OTT as this remake, which totally lacks any cinematic coherence. ‘Players’ literally goes all over the place – from New Zealand to Moscow. But for what ? The motley cast changes costumes and sleepwalks through what is meant to be a super slick effort revolving around an ambitious heist. Which desi chor would undertake a mission this impossible ( stealing tons of gold from a train that’s en route to Romania from Russia)? And this bunch looks not just hopelessly amateurish, inept and unintelligent, but manages to generate misplaced laughter during key scenes. One just hopes no self respecting Russian watches the movie. It could lead to Putin launching a full scale attack on us just to let our audiences know what happens when a Russian general loses his cool ( he definitely does not start stripping off his clothes and singing ‘Mera Joota Hai Japani’, as the joker in a cheap pink satin shirt does in ‘Players’). But yes, I can see the sternest Russian melting into a puddle at the sight of a sizzling Bipasha performing an item song in a tacky bar. Yup. It’s as easy as that. Bips as a seductress is more lethal than a guided missile, and perhaps our own Ministry of External Affairs should consider hiring her services to sort out India’s myriad problems.
To make up for the torture I had subjected myself to, I went and watched ‘Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy…” Let me just say, I regained my sanity, as well as my faith in movies. Despite mixed reviews to this cold war spy thriller, I found myself at the edge of the seat ( popcorn ko maaro goli!), not wanting to miss even a single line of dialogue , or visual clue. After a long time, I actually found God in the details – and what details! Every meticulously constructed, brilliantly lit scene revealed subtle props that were certainly not there by accident. For a movie in which the script is so finely calibrated, and the dialogue as economical, the challenge is to not blink! Or lose focus even for a micro -second! It was a good way to handle a post-New Year’s Eve condition. I recommend ‘TTSS’ over tomato juice to anybody looking for a quick fix to a hangover. Watch it attentively – you’ll sober up instantly. As for ‘Players’, sorry, even if you go to a theatre fully tanked up, you still won’t be able to sit through it!