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Since 1st March, 1999
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Haunting templates

Star wars episode iii: the revenge of the sith

Director: George Lucas Cast: Ewan McGregor, Hayden Christensen, Ian McDiarmid, Natalie Portman, Frank Oz, Samuel L. Jackson


There are two things working for Sith as the last of the saga (1977-2005) that belongs in a time capsule with late 20th century cults. First, that it would never have to be anything extraordinary by itself. And second, that it somehow hijacks for itself a kind of retroactive cinematic precedence for everything that has passed in between, both visually and conceptually. George Lucas has managed to put together the basic templates that would haunt you, in retrospect, every time you watch, or remember, future/fantasy-epics, new or vintage ' and give in to recurring anxieties about Droid armies, wonder about the Dark Lord’s back story in Potter, or merely gape at the neon metropolis of Bladerunner or the aerial chases of Minority Report.

The prequels are also Lucas’ alibi for the late delivery, digital Baroque at its most spectacular. They’re designed and detailed in deep-space depth of focus of awesome alien planetary expanses (the Jedis terminated one by one against surreal backdrops), the hyperreal texture and gleam of war machines, skies busy with constant interstellar traffic, and CGI oddities like General Grievous who is a towering mechanical mantis, or Yoda’s single most magnificent light-saber duel with Chancellor Palpatine/ Darth Sidious.

Outcomes already given, it’s vehement in its moral schematising (where Anakin’s growing doubt, rage and hubris from Clones leads to his final seduction to the dark side, into something hardly human) worked out in what Lucas called “Bumper-sticker-Speak” repartees. Sith will be jaded and impenetrable to those unconverted to the Force.

Paramita Brahmachari

No fuss timepass

jo bole so nihaal

Director: Rahul Rawail Cast: Sunny Deol, Shilpi, Surekha Sikri, Kamaal Khan


This one is not to be taken seriously. The story of good cop chasing bad terrorist is not particularly original. Nor does this Rahul Rawail film strive for credibility. As its publicity poster says, “No if, no but, sirf Jatt”.

As hero Nihaal Singh (Sunny Deol) chases villain Romeo (Kamaal Khan) to America and back, the audience is treated to all the masala ingredients. There is blood, fists, bare skin, sex, songs, dance and even foreign locales to spice things up. Unfortunately, the script rarely rises above the mediocre, and though Sunny finds his mettle as a rustic Sardar cop he is handicapped by poor punchlines. The music by Anand Raaj Anand is also unremarkable.

Debutante Shilpi looks stunning in parts. Kamaal looks too camera-friendly to terrorise anyone. The FBI agents look like Bush’s bad dreams. Surekha, however, slaps sticks with gusto to steal several scenes in an otherwise Sunny-dominated film.

Sudip Mallik

Magic, what magic'


Director: Dheeraj Kumar Cast: Athith Naik, Hansika Motwani,Anupam Kher, Archana Puran Singh,Satish Kaushik, Johny Lever, (Prabhudeva)


This isn’t magic. It’s tragic. Imagine the plight of being stranded in a deserted movie theatre (where even the ticket checker had fled the cool AC interiors to take refuge in the hot and sweltering Abracadabra-less afternoon outside), and subjected to a never-ending torture saga of tacky sets, garish costumes, horrible screechy music, terrible hammy acting and special effects that would put the Ramsay brothers to shame. And to top it all, there’s a vamp who dresses in asphyxiatingly tight outfits, speaks Hindi with an American accent and screams “Rim sum phat” to everything in sight, till you close your eyes and desperately mutter “Rim sum phat”, hoping that the screen will explode.

That’s Abracadabra for you ' the desi version of Harry Potter. But the worst was saved for last ' an ominous sign proclaiming, “Wait for Part Two”. Quick, grab your broomsticks and fly far far away right now.

Sohini Chattopadhyay

The same, but still...

tobu bhalobashi

Director: Biresh Chatterjee Cast: Prosenjit, Rimjhim Gupta, Swastika Mukherjee, Ranjit Mallick, Deepankar De, Lily Chakraborty, Raju Thakkar, Bharat Kaul


Who wants to see Prosenjit as the docile, repentant, family person torn between his duty towards fiancee Rimjhim and friend Swastika whom he had wronged by accidentally crushing her husband to death' All that’s needed is action, comedy and, of course, a woman (not a girl, if you know what we mean) to gyrate to some inane songs.

Director Biresh Chatterjee does his best in Tobu Bhalobashi. He somehow fits in a dream sequence with Swastika, in her lowest-cut choli, cosying up to the hero though she’s more impressive as the simple woman. Raju Thakkar and his gang are forced in to let Prosenjit have his ‘bash’ full moments. It’s Raju again who awkwardly ends the suspense about Prosenjit’s spotless character. And for comic relief the film has two veterans, Deepankar De and Ranjit Mallick.

Needless to say when the hero is acting sober (singing Rabindrasangeet, clutching on to a guitar), it’s left to Ranjit to deliver a punch or two at the villains. And he is welcomed with loud ceetees. The film is not typically Prosenjit ' and one can definitely sit through it.

Madhuparna Das

Psycho-babble, again


Director: Shripal Morakhia Cast: Urmila Matondkar, Anuj Sawhney, Shweta Konnur, Amardeep Jha, Kamini Khanna, Sulabha Arya


Little girl goes blind after car crash. Years later, now-grown-up Naina (Urmila Matondkar) receives pair of eyes from mysterious donor and regains sight. But soon boon turns into curse'because what she sees are dead people. And shadowy-black messengers of death, hovering around unsuspecting dying souls. Tormented by this death-foreseeing extra-sensory vision, Naina freaks when someone else’s reflection gazes back at her in the mirror.

Director Shripal Morakhia employs every eerie special-effects trick in the book to make his horror flick click. But gimmicks are done to death with such boring regularity, they become repetitive and predictable. Every second scene is ghost-infested ' lurking in corridors, elevators, hospital wards ' till there’s no tension or suspense left. And without cohesive plot, viewing experience is a series of disjointed, fragmented, nerve-racking moments, compounded by a soundtrack that becomes oddly amplified with increasing high decibels. Does Naina suddenly acquire bionic sonic perception, too, along with ESP vision' ‘Earie’! And voila! There’s Urmila Typecast Matondkar! Bollywood psycho-babble-film club’s quintessential ‘spooks’person (Kaun'/Bhoot/Ek Hasina Thi), going through the motions ' acting weird/haunted/possessed ' for the nth time.

The film ends with Naina losing sight again in another freak accident. And one ‘sees clearly’ the moral of the story. She should’ve never set eyes on those damned donated corneas! And spared herself the shock and us the horror of having to ‘watch’ iDream Productions’ eye-nightmare.

Mandira Mitra

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