Category Archives: film critic

Rocket Singh: Go Watch

In a recent film review, I noted how most directors with a brilliant first film let viewers down with their subsequent work. However, as with all other rules in life, this one has exceptions as well.

Shimit Amin is one such exception. His directorial debut – “Ab Tak Chappan” is one of the best films I have ever seen! It’s right up there in my top three list. He did not disappoint with his second film “Chak De India“, and has managed to stay the course with his third film “Rocket Singh“.

Rocket Singh is a lot like Chak de India, in the sense that it is the story of an underdog winning against all odds – a theme on which countless movies have made. What sets this one apart is how the five or six main characters of this movie develop as the film progresses. As with his previous two films, this one is unconventional as well – it is not a typical Bollywood song-and-dance show. Apart from Ranbir Kapoor, there are no “stars” in this film; the story is the central point around which the characters revolve and evolve.

All the main characters have done an excellent job – to think about it, even a trivial character like Laalwani – the small time computer parts vendor also manages to steal the two scenes he is in! The characters resonate! You know these people! When you see Laalwani, you are reminded of your own Laalwani – your computer parts vendor sitting in a small 4-by-8 hole-in-the-wall in the basement of CTC.

If there is anything negative to report about this movie, it is Giri’s character. Is it just me, or did Giri transform from a Tamilian to a Hyderabadi somewhere after his second scene? I am not sure. I will have to pay attention when I watch this movie a second time (which I will).

If you enjoyed Ab Tak Chappan and Chak de India, I am pretty sure you will like Rocket Singh – Go watch it!

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Paa: Disappointing

I had been looking forward to the release Balki’s Paa. I had enjoyed watching Balki’s first film Cheeni Kum, and was expecting something of the same caliber; but like most other directors with a fantastic first film (M. Night Shyamalan and his Sixth Sense, for instance), the second offering was very disappointing.

Beyond the novelty factor of the real life father playing the son’s part on reel, both father and son, Amitabh and Abhisek let me down. Amitabh’s portrayal of a 13 year old was very contrived, and Abhisek trying to play cool and mouth English dialogues was very painful to watch. In my view, there are very few Indian male actors who look natural on-screen mouthing English dialogues – Saif Ali Khan and Akshaye Khanna come to mind immediately; Shah Rukh can pull if off with ease as well. Watching the rest is very painful and awkward – Aamir Khan and Salman Khan look very uncomfortable; Amitabh gets very Shakespearean – he always seems to be holding up an imaginary skull; Govinda shouldn’t even try – he looks like an idiot!

Overall the movie is trash – how it managed to get average and above average ratings in press is beyond me.

There are only a couple of positives – Vidya Balan has done a good job, and Illayaraja’s music is fantastic as always.

For folks who have not watched it yet, I would suggest wait till it is out on DVD and watch it at home. It really is not worth burning gas to drive to the theater, and to spend Rs. 300.00 and you don’t have to mortgage your house to pay the by-the-minute car parking fees.

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