Monday, April 04, 2005

Bollywood Hollywood

Over the past weekend, on account of cold, wet and balmy weather we were forced to stay indoor for the most part and managed to watch 2 movies that we received from Netflix, one Punjabi movie (sic) Veer-Zaara and M. Night Shyamalans ‘The Village’.

Veer-Zaara

Well, the less written about this movie the better. We more or less somnambulated through this supposedly magnum opus epic cross country love saga by Yash Chopra. There is only so many times that one can sit through hackneyed plot of boy meets girl, boy woos girl, boy and girl romp through the countryside singing love songs only to realize later that the girl is actually betrothed to someone else. Boy will not have the girl without acquiescence from her family. Many weepy songs later, mounds of ‘besan-ladoos’ later, court battles later, teary, mouthy, melodramatic dialogues later boy meets his love, now a menopausal old nag and rekindles their once youthful romps in the countryside fields. Arggggg, Utter and complete waste of valuable and leisure time which could have been otherwise well spent watching nails grow or beans sprout. There is only so much of syrupy, back-slapping, goody-goody bonhomie that you can endure, without actually being acutely nauseated at regular intervals. Shah Rukh Khan, the reigning God of bollywood lacks sincerity and his performance is so superfluous and unimaginative, that it does not even merit any mention. Everything else was just as pedantry. Also since most of the dialogues were in Punjabi and coupled with an incredibly irate 20-month old, this movie was just pedestrian fare for me and Seemz. We had to suffer through movie in multiple sittings since it did not hold our interest for long spans of time.


The Village

We didn’t quite enjoy this movie as much as we could have because of a faulty DVD. During the end of the movie, the picture froze and we were forced to forward a few scenes which ruined the ending for us. Other than that this is an OK movie, which is not in the regular Shayamlanesque formula or the supernatural or the occult. Warning to those who have not seen the movie, that the suspense will be revealed in the ensuing description. The movie starts off slowly, about a community in rural Pennsylvania, living a meager existence, not different from the original Pilgrims. The villagers are haunted by some creatures that live in the woods that border it. The curiosity of the villagers is piqued by these creatures but they are also wary about incurring the wrath of these odious party-poopers. A blind girl Ivy, who also happens to be the village elder’s daughter (William Hurt), played brilliantly by Bryce Howard, falls for a young man (Joaquin Phoenix) who has an insatiable curiosity for these creatures outside his village. Certain circumstances bring the young man to his death bead and his blind lover must now cross the woods and fight the creatures to get to the town to fetch medicine for the man she loves. Her journey is tempered with self-doubts, fear and anxiety at every step and she not only has to encounter the bogeymen in her mind, but the creatures that accost her in the woods. The storyline for this movie is extraordinary, though the pace of the movie leaves much to be desired.

It is finally revealed that the Village resides in a modern-day wildlife preserve and the residents of the village have chosen to seclude themselves from the rest of the world after each one of them had lost someone they love dearly in some accident. Despite their search for a utopian life, the same actions and deception that doomed their life in the modern world plague them in their rustic life as well. Basically you can take the man out of the jungle, but cannot take the jungle out of the man. Though it starts off at a slow pace, this movie is a must watch and well worth the time.

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