Movie Review: Humble Politician Nograj

I’m visiting Bangalore this weekend, and somewhere in-between the paperwork and drafts that I had to send out, took my mum out to see the Kannada language satire Humble Politician Nograj. It’s been ages since I last saw a Kannada movie, and Humble Politician Nograj is a refreshing take on our local political system, if not national political system. Danish Sait of YouTube and Fever FM fame stars as Nograj, the so called “humble” politician who has a great career at creating scams and making money. The film depicts a very real damaged political system with brilliant satire, and the cast is effortless in each of their roles. Apart from well-known faces of the Indian stand-up comedy scene, we also see some great actors from the Kannada film and theatre circles.

Nograj is pitted against honest businessman turned politician, Arun Patil (whose character I strongly suspect is based on the real life of Krishna Byre Gowda) who depicts the struggle that educated youth face-a helplessness with the system with the drive to do something about it. But the struggle has more odds against it-and probably explains why less youth in the country want to have anything to do with politics-a cause for concern- where is the next generation of our leadership?

Despite all the lies that Nograj churns, Humble Politician Nograj is so honest in its depiction, even the subtle “Samosa culture” that plagues the Bangalore political scene. A must watch, I’d say.

The trailer is here.

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Movie Review: Baahubali-2

Okay, so readers of this blog might think I actually like to torture myself by watching despicable movies. It is not the case, trust me.

I don’t even know why I went to see this movie, apart from the fact that I just wanted to catch up with some friends. In fact, I haven’t even seen the first movie completely. I walked in 40 minutes because I got appalled of the sexual harassment portrayed on screen (and also maybe I was with the least interested person-admit it, the shittiest movies are those you see with fun people).

Baahubali-2 is mostly South Indian stereotypes:

  1. Engineering dreams of South Indians, because this movie was probably the outcome of an engineering intern’s work. He will probably put it on his MS application to Stanford.
  2. South Indian women pray for good husbands because we all want to marry NRI men (with the Standford MS) and settle down in California.
  3. Gult men just work out all day
  4. In the end, the bad (but better looking) guy dies

Movie Review: Badrinath ki Dulhania

[Author Note: This post was originally published on 21 March 2017]

Disclaimers first. I’m not a usual Hindi movie fan. In fact, my Bollywood knowledge is entirely credited to my roommate in law school. And, because I continue to love her more than ever, I voluntarily agreed to watch Badrinath ki Dulhania on Sunday afternoon.

In short? The movie is horrendous.

The movie centres around Badrinath Bansal (Varun Dhawan), Badri for short, and his quest for a bride. Besides looking for a bride, he does not do anything substantial, other than being a “support” to his family for “collection of loans”. Because, hey guys its 2017 and moneylenders are still the only means of credit in rural and semi-urban India. [Author Note: I’m a banking lawyer, and let me assure you that the central bank, the RBI does enough to ensure that the law and regulation seeks to provide credit to those who need it, formally]. Badri is assisted by his loyal sidekick, Somdev, who runs the ever spurious website chutkimeinshaadi.com.

His brother, on the other hand, is a pretty decent, calm guy. The character of the wife, Urmila Bansal, is not half bad, even though she succumbs to all the nonsense that this family puts her through. Brother runs a automobile showroom, and exploits his wife banking and accounting skills (she is a topper who also got a job offer in Singapore but her backward father said no to that and got her married to this dude) to better run the business.

The Bansal patriarch is the most disturbing character in the entire movie, not only because he is annoying af, but because just hearing bad dialogues was enough to give me a headache. [Author Note: True story, I took a crocin after getting home]

Badri meets Vaidehi Trivedi (Alia Bhatt) and her sister at a wedding and is smitten by her. Somdev then meets the parents of the Trivedi sisters and arranges to get both their daughters married. The sister’s wedding is set with some Radhe Maa fan who demands dowry that the Trivedi parents cannot afford, so Badri goes to negotiate. So despite the disclaimer at the beginning of the movie of dowry being fucking illegal, the movie seems to encourage thoda lena dena . Badri basically sets everything up till wedding day, and is ecstatic that he’s going to marry Vaidehi. But on D-Day, she just disappears and is shown travelling to Mumbai for a job interview with Frankfinn airhostess training. Her father is upset but her sister gets married to radhe maa fan.

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The Bansal patriarch orders depressed Badri to hunt down Vaidehi and bring her back and show her business. So Badri goes to Mumbai and finds that she is in Singapore. And so, logically, he goes to Singapore. Once there, he physically assaults her by attacking her from behind, dumping her into the fucking car trunk, takes her to a isolated area and catches her by the throat and all she says when the police find them and take them in for questioning is that it was a mere misunderstanding.

Thereafter, he legit stalks her, beats up one of her male friends and is being the height of all things that feminism stands against. Even after all this (his passport gets confiscated), she allows him to live in her flat (damn fancy, even by Singapore standards) and cooks for him. Then there’s an emotional ew scene when he leaves for India.

Back home, Badri is still unemployed and his family is looking for a wife. Urmila is pregnant so anti-feminist Bansal patriarch has a puja so that she can have a boy. At the puja, Badri is drunk and has a tiff with Bansal patriarch and suddenly Vaidehi appears from nowhere saying that she legit loves him and wants to marry him, but at the same time wants her job et al.

So let me get this straight. This educated woman who got a decent enough job in Singapore (INR 1.5 lakhs as per the movie) ran back to India to marry an uneducated (passing 10th grade is not enough when you clearly do not know what IIT stands for. I mean, you live in India), unemployed, who does nothing for a living (even in the two years he spent “waiting” for her as she worked in Singapore) and continues to do nothing as she starts her own air hostess training school in Jhansi.

TRASH!

Movie Review: Raees

It must be  my general South Indian-ness, because I pronounced Raees as “Rice” instead “r-eez” till my flatmate called out on me yesterday when we went to see the Shah Rukh Khan thriller.

The film was not great, but it was interesting to see illicit alcohol businesses in Gujarat set in the late 1980s to early 1990s. Nawazuddin Siddique is brilliant as usual, playing good cop Mr. Majumdar while Shah Rukh steals the show being Raees-bhai, the owner of an illicit alcohol-business that supplies illegal alcohol to the entire state. Mahira Khan supplies some old-fashioned Bollywood romance to the film, while Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub (who specialises in playing best mate roles) is Raees’ loyal side-kick.

Points for cinematography, the storyline and the music (although I still think the original laila main laila was better). I’m grossed out by blood and violence and think that it is times like these that the Indian censor board should be censoring violence (because most Indian kids love watching Shah Rukh Khan- atleast a PG-13 certificate is warranted).