Posts tagged review
Documentary: Bombay Railway

Bombay Railway is a two-part documentary by BBC 4 that paints a picture of an overcrowded train system pushed to its limit by 6 million commuters a day, full of people who strive towards their goals tirelessly, in the city of dreams that is Mumbai. I was a frequent traveller myself, so it was interesting to watch the documentary which is from the point of view of an observer rather than someone who has lived the experience. What we call "Crush" is the super rush hour that's also mentioned in the film, and the statistics and video footage is more frightening than actually travelling in the crowd. As an observer, the sight of 5000 or more people getting into trains meant for 1200 people within 30 seconds is a spectacle. As a participant it's an exciting, thrilling, and somewhat harrowing daily reality. The fact is that the local trains are cheap, charging about 1 penny a mile and the trains are always on time with a 97% efficiency, so despite the odds the system is dependable and vital to the normal functioning of Mumbai.

In the first part of the film, the stories about runaway kids living on Mumbai platforms sounds sunny and positive, giving the audience hope that things could turn out well for these children that have escaped abusive families. However describing a railway station as a "family" where you get to "be yourself" is overly optimistic and misleading. Most of these runaways end up being abused, drugged and treated badly. I have seen them being thrashed by cops or others on more than one occasion. Life for kids in such places is rarely a happy place.

Various other issues such as illegal hawking, crossing tracks, and the terrorist bombings are also mentioned. Below are a few screenshots from the film:

Peer Critique
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We organized a peer critique for the 14th of December to discuss our work. At this point most people are midway through their projects. About 12-15 part-time and full-time MA students attended the workshop. I presented a video and photographs from a recent installation test. Here are some points of reaction to my work: > Simple, yet effective

> Interactive without the use of very complex technology. Since the user is essential to viewing the artwork.

> Use of technology is secondary to the concept.

> Prefer to see it projected on walls, instead of floor since it's more natural.

> Want to see more animation: people, events, day changing to night.

> Want to see a more dramatic difference between the two skylines.

> One person interpreted the "real" city as a doomsday city since it contains images of poverty and burning buildings.

> Important to note how most people who view the work generalize it to any city rather that Mumbai, unless specifically told.

> Prefer the rough sketchy version of the city.

> Almost a film.

Overall, I realized how different each person's work and philosophy was, from Fine Art to Animation finding common ground is not easy since its like each person is from different planets. At the same time it was useful to see how a fine artist or animator would react to my work. Additionally, various topics such as self-reflexive films, and the "axiomatic" were discussed. I also discovered a piece of work which later became vital to my understanding of my practice. It is called Circle of Confusion by Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, 1997. See my notes on this work here.

Quick Gun Murugan - Movie Review
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Director: Shashanka Ghosh | Writer: Rajesh Devraj *

Okay, I've already heard many people say that the movie is not worth watching, and I completely disagree. That's what pushed me to write the review. Apparently, the movie has got a couple of bad reviews in the newspapers, I have no idea why, most of the time lots of terribly bad movies get good reviews, especially in TOI.

Quick Gun Murugan is Classic Slapstick Humour. It's well done, not too sexist, it has low brow and high brow cross-references and original, entertaining cultural references. Frankly, what more do you need in a light movie? A spoof of Tamil cinema, the movie reminds me of one of my all-time favourites, Kung Fu Hustle.

You're guaranteed to leave the theatre in a good mood, smiling: It's not too long either.

The theatre I went to in Chennai was not packed because it was a Sunday morning show, but almost everyone in the audience was in splits the entire time.

A warning note: It doesn't make sense to expect too much (its not THAT great), since its still rough at the edges, and not as polished as it could have been. And the reason I'm raving about it is the dearth of such movies in Indian cinema. As a film buff I still expect better.

Quick Gun Murugan Movie Poster

Image via www.media.photobucket.com

The villain - Rice Plate Reddy:

rice plate reddy

Image via strawdogs.files.wordpress.com

The vamp/heroin Rambha:

Rambha

Image via whatslatest.com

So you've seen some of the excellent and colourful cast, although I couldnt find a picture of one of my favourite villain characters - Rowdy MBA Rascal - I loved the insane amounts of case-taking of MBA's!!

Finally a found a pic of Rowdy MBA The Side Kick Villain:

Rowdy MBA

Image via nowrunning.com

The wiki tells us of the origin of the main character Quick Gun, who started off as a television promo on Channel [V] making phrases such as  "Mind it" and "We are like this only" part of an iconic cultural identity. Quick Gun has come a long way from there.

Interestingly, the movie is in English, but it breaks into Tamil or Hindi whenever translation is not possible. In this way, even if it's in English, you never lose the Indian flavour at all. For example,

*SPOILERS AHEAD*

during a love song, he is singing in English and it sounds really ridiculous and funny, and then he switched to Tamil naturally, which is even funnier due to the subtitles that then appear, translating everything literally! This part was tricky, but well executed. Even the trilingual scenes in Mumbai, with English, Tamil and Hindi, switching from one language to another is handled naturally.

So indulge your light hearted side and watch this movie, and remember -

WE ARE LIKE THIS ONLY!

^_^