Samstag, 22. September 2012

My Mausam Experience And Happy 1st Anniversary

Mausam will forever hold a special place in my heart. It was the very first Hindi film I saw on the big screen. 
One year has passed.
 Happy First Anniversary, Mausam!

Here is what I wrote after watching Mausam a year ago:

Literary symmetry is a beautiful thing. The first Hindi Film I ever watched was a Shahid Kapoor movie (Chance Pe Dance). The first Hindi Film I ever watched on the big screen was a Shahid Kapoor movie - Mausam.

I had made my peace with having to wait to see Mausam until weeks or even months after its release, like it's the case with every Bollywood movie - I need to wait for the subtitled DVDs. Alas, imagine my joy when I found out that Mausam would be screened at a cinema in Vienna (travel time there a bit over an hour). So I happily arranged everything for the perfect Mausam experience on the 16th September. And then, less happily and with much nerves lost, rearranged everything for the perfect Mausam experience on 24th :). I can tell you, it was fully worth every hour of sleep I lost, fretting over whether it would work out (would my friend have to cancel on me last minute due to babysitter problems? Would the cinema for some reason cancel the film? etc, etc. When it comes to things important to me, I'm quite the worrier).

But it worked out perfectly and here are my thoughts on the actual movie (Disclaimer: contains major spoilers, do not read if you haven't seen the movie - really, seriously - I totally give away the ending. Consider yourself warned!):

When Shahid appeared on screen, I almost pinched myself. Seeing him on the big screen was rapture. The first season of Mausam was alternatively fun and very touching. (Though I do not understand what was so funny about the musical chairs scene. A good 80% of the audience were obviously NRI, and they laughed at this scene, while I rolled my eyes. The only thing I love about it was Hari's facial expression. Conclusion: Indian humour is beyond me, but I already knew that from other BW movies :) )

I want to applaud how cleverly the exchange of notes was translated, being what Harinder and Aayat wrote were actually the lyrics of the song that was playing, and thankfully, the song was subtitled (note on the subtitles: They were perfect. This is not the case with every Hindi movie).
I generally don't get the love at the first sight concept, but again, that's a common Bollywood staple, so I'm willing to accept it.

The cut to season two, Edinburgh, was sudden. The Scotland scenes themselves were good. I especially loved how Officer Harry displayed his love and understanding for art, in this case Mozart's Serenade Nr. 13. Generally not a fan of "keeping to miss each other by a blink" scenarios, I was a bit annoyed that Aayat didn't made her presence known earlier, but thankfully they did find each other in Edinburgh, and the telepathic conversation was brilliant. My heart broke when Harry failed to show up at the dinner.

Season 3 showed a bit more of kick ass Harry. When he was angry at the phone with Rajjo, I was happy to not be on the receiving end of his wrath (which is testimony to Shahid's superb acting).

Contrary to the majority opinion, I really liked the last segment. I liked Harry working to recover the use of his hand, I liked him being wary about whether Aayat would even want him given his handicap, I liked the running after the train scene and my heart broke at the Aayat-Akram-child - misconception (though of course that's not novel, it was beautifully executed).

I absolutely loved the scenes leading up to the climax, from the moment Harry saved Aayat in the riots and their subsequent conversation in the tube. I did not know what to make of the white horse, that surely is some kind of symbolism, probably for hope, as someone on twitter pointed out to me. But hey, Shahid and a white horse in the same frame, I'm not complaining. The climax itself, hm. I can suspend my disbelief and accept that sheer willpower enables him to catch the child, but HOW DID HE GET DOWN?????

Mausam has a very very happy ending (I can't help but wonder, what about the horse? Did they adopt it, too? :D), but I by far prefer that to  a tragic ending.


A word on Squadron Leader Harinder Singh:

Shahid kicked ass in the airforce scenes. He looked deliciously macho in his flight gear. I'm not very fond of the moustache. But the stubble in the last segment was scorching hot. I would have loved more airforce scenes. I also had hope we'd get to see a little of young Hari actually training to become a pilot. Not extensively, since I knew that wasn't the premise of the movie, but a little bit. So that's one minor disappointment. Also I'd have liked for Harry's plane to actually go down and him making his way back on his own through enemy territory. That'd have been cool.

For his poise, attitude, sincerity and competence in his profession and of course devotion to Aayat, Harry has made his way into my circle of "Most Beloved Fictional Characters". 

Acting performances:


Shahid was superb. But there was never any doubt about that. He portrays Hari's transition from irresponsible freeloader to mature Squadron Leader flawlessly. Sonam was good and gorgeous, wearing super pretty clothes and Aditi Sharma was great.


Further points:

- I loved all the tube scenes (also a nice example of the concept of literary symmetry), but the last one, after Harry saved Aayat the most (Though why Hindi Films insist on doing this "previously in this movie" collage I will never know. Even if the movie is 3 hours long, my short term memory isn't that bad that I can't remember what happened two and a half hours ago).
- Not showing us how Harry got down when his engine was burning and then again from the Ferris wheel was a cop out.
- The jumps in place and time were confusing for me, I had to think it through after the movie, to really keep track of everything.
- The historical events were a good idea, although I think they were lost on me, since they didn't trigger knowledge/associations/sets of emotions in me like they might for an Indian audience
- Rajjo was a character I'd have loved to hate, but couldn't. Who could blame her for falling for Hari, and if we're honest, Hari used her and led her on. So I don't blame her about being bitter about it even after years and also about not being over him by then, even after marriage and becoming a mother. What she did was despicable, but so was Hari's behaviour towards her. Instead of ignoring her in the train, I'd have loved it if he had acknowledged he had hurt her and apologized for it.
- There were a lot of beautiful visuals. Full moon & rose, anyone?
-Sajh Dhaj Ke on the big screen. Overwhelming.
- I did not understand what for Aayat was wearing the burqa at the beginning (other than it was necessary for the plot, but not from where her character is coming).
Conclusion: Yes, Mausam is slow paced. Yes, Mausam has some problems in the logical department (but honestly, what movie doesn't). Also, maybe there are a few separations too many, it does get repetitive (don't kill me, but when Harry runs down the stairs after Aayat, for a second I had a Milenge Milenge flashback. Thankfully Mausam is a much better movie than MM). But all that is more than made up by the beautiful visuals, outstanding performances and brilliant moments. 

Samstag, 1. September 2012

Vampire 101

This post is about one aspect of Twilight I hate. There are many more, ones that actually  have an impact on REAL life, a post on that will come later.

So. Vampires. They are powerful. Frightening. Sexy. They are predators.

Take a look at this picture with a selection of popular vampires over the 20th and 21st century.

Can you see  the one thing all these vampires have in common?
That's right, they have FANGS.

Meet Edward Cullen:

Do you, dear reader, find a difference between Edward in all his vampire glory and the vampires above?
That's right, Edward SPARKLES! In sunlight. He has no fangs.

 These three things tell us that Edward is not a real vampire.

In Sunlight? WTF? Sunlight kills vampires.
As non pretty as it is, this is what happens to vampires in the sun: they go up in smoke.
 Vampires are creatures of the night. They cannot, much to their frigging chagrin, walk in the sunlight. Many vampires long to walk in the sunlight, some succeed in it, but they have to go through major hassles to achieve that. Drinking fairy blood, getting a daylight ring from a powerful witch. Real vampires do not frolick around in the sun sparkling like a unicorn.

Why do real vampires have fangs? Because they are dangerous PREDATORS!

What do you think will be better in catching prey? A sparkling unicorn or a fanged velociraptor?

Granted, some vampires go veg, but even that deer might be hard to bite without fangs.
(this really is basic evolutionary logic)

That they are dangerous is one part of the immense sex appeal of vampires. Sparkling really ruins that dark, dangerous vibe for me.

I am aware vampires are not real and authors can alter the existing lore as they damn well please. And I am aware that Meyer is laughing all the way to the bank.

But how can she expect anyone to take a SPARKLING vampire seriously?
I'll tell you how: For many of the young Twilight fans, Edward is their first exposure to the vampire world. This became clear to me the other day when talking to a good friend of mine on Twitter. I have had the blessing of an early birth, so my first tryts with vampires were Buffy and Ann Rice (where, btw, it was made clear that stalking is a creepy, intrusive, disrespectful and aggressive act, not the ultimate romantic gesture). So young Twilight fans are not to blame, but they are to be pitied, for they do not know any better. And this pretty much is killing me. (Also, older Twilight fans do not have this excuse! :P)

I leave you with a quote of Damon Salvatore and rest my case:

“Why don’t you sparkle?”
“Because we’re in the real world where vampires burn in the sun.” 

P.S.  Vampire newbies being stronger than really old vampires makes no sense at all. Think about it.