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Friday, December 14, 2007

I Am Legend Movie Review

I Am Legend is believable
Will Smith is back at the multiplexes and he's battling an army of man-made vampires. Sounds like fun? Lets find out.

The film opens in New York in the near future. But it is nothing like tourists and residents know it. Hollywood's favourite city for wreaking havoc upon wears a deserted and overgrown look. Wild animals roam the streets (possibly escapees from the zoos that were abandoned when everybody died or moved away). A deathly calm hangs over what was once one of the liveliest cities in the world. Vehicles lie abandoned. Stores, office parks and even aircraft carriers are deserted.

It all began when a scientist (Emma Thompson) discovered a cure for cancer. Three years later, the mutating virus that was supposed to be the miracle cure decimated the world's population, leaving scientist Robert Neville (Will Smith) as the sole survivor in New York City.

He hunts, he works out, he swats golf balls off the wing of a grounded Air Force plane, he broadcasts a message of hope for any other survivors that might be accessing AM frequencies, he cooks meals and he plays with his dog, Sam. When his wristwatch alarm clock alerts him to the arrival of nightfall, he goes home, locks and bolts all the doors and windows and waits out the night during which a class of infected humans prowl the city.

Will SmithBefore too long, Neville is engaging with these beasts. Once to save his dog and another time to avenge her. Along the way, as the sole person immune to every form of the virus, he attempts to find a cure for the man-made strain that has transformed the majority of all the people it didn't kill into rabid creatures of the night.

This film is a remix of a lot of tales and cinematic tropes already familiar to the viewers of blockbuster cinema. Part 28 Days Later, part Cast Away, part post-apocalyptic saga and part monster flick, Legend also reuses the present-intercut-with-flashback storytelling technique so effectively employed by cult television show, Lost.

Neville's solitude is admirably depicted through sedately paced sequences that may disgruntle quite a few Will Smith fans who expect things to go boom with increasing frequency. Make no mistake, things blow up. But this version of Will Smith is not the hyper-energetic go-getter who has little else to do other than kick some ass and take some names. This guy is worn out and losing his grip on reality. He perseveres (in his search for survivors and a cure) and yet he is very close to giving up. He is a mature hero, completely at odds with the character of Mike Larry that made him a silver screen star to be reckoned with in Bad Boys. It is a solid performance by Will Smith, whose age is beginning to show in the lines on his face and the white in his hair.

A still from I Am LegendAbandoned New York is dramatically depicted and it is quite chilling to see what only three years of neglect could do to a megapolis like that. The moments of tension in the dark where we know that something lurks just beyond the pool of light cast by a flashlight are well done. The sudden appearance of the strong and feral creatures that fear little other than sunlight delivers a jolt of scary surprise. The film also owes its visual styling to graphic novels like DMZ and Pride Of Baghdad.

There are a few good examples of letting tension build through silences and an almost documentary illustration of one man's struggle for survival against seemingly insurmountable odds.

But Legend is not without its shortfalls. The creatures of the night, sometimes called The Infected and otherwise known as Dark Seekers, look like an army of Gollums or a slightly more humanoid version of the robots from I, Robot. The cutaways to the past that led to this present don't really offer much by way of back story and seem to have been put into the film solely to break the monotony of watching one man and his dog try and live their lives without any other company. While we feel his pain, it is almost simultaneously impossible to buy Will Smith as a man who suffers to no perceivable end.

Since it all feels familiar, it also feels believable. The message of man messing with nature without fully considering the implications inherent in that messing about is a resonant one. Still, I am not sure how big a market there is for a film, even a Will Smith-starrer, set in a depressing time. Especially now, as people prepare to celebrate the end of another year.

bollywoodgola.blogspot.com Rating:

Exclusive Slim and Sexy Kareen Kapoor Gallery

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Akshay-Katrina on Jhalak Dikhla Ja mega-finals

Akshay Kumar and Katrina Kaif have scooped the cream among the glut of reality TV shows. This hit pair will be the super attraction on the mega final of Sony TV's popular dance show, Jhalak Dikhla Ja, to promote their highly anticipated comedy, Welcome, releasing on Friday, December 21.

The mega final of JDJ is being telecast on Saturday, December 15. Katrina will make her entry first and be joined by Akshay who will appear after her and felicitate the winner at the end.

Considering Welcome is the Christmas release for families, a Santa Claus is likely to accompany Akshay. The latter will dance to the title track of Welcome, though much of what he will be doing on the show is being held back as a big surprise.

Shahid-Kareena together this Valentine's Day

Come what may, Shahid aur Kareena Milenge Milenge. That's the title of the long-delayed Shahid-Kareena romance directed by Satish Kaushik which the producer Boney Kapoor has decided to release on Valentine's Day.

Somewhat ironical considering Shahid and Kareena have gone their separate ways. "So be it. Perhaps it was destined that the most romantic film featuring Shahid and Kareena would come after their relationship," says Boney. Thanks to the surprise success of Jab We Met the long-dormant Shahid Kapoor-Kareena Kapoor starrer is being brought alive.

Contrary to rumours that the film's main lead Shahid and Kareena aren't interested in dubbing it, producer Boney Kapoor is all set to release his film on Valentine's day. Though the lead pair is yet to dub, Boney has already got Milenge Milenge censored. "We've got the scratch -print censored," explains Boney. "And all we need now is for Shahid and Kareena to dub. They haven't given me any indication that they've any problem with dubbing for the film." Says Boney, belying the reports that the lead pair is disinclined to be part of the project any longer.

The only person from the team who won't be part of the newly-revived Milenge Milenge is Himesh Reshammiya. Says Boney, "Himesh has done the songs. We've got the late maestro Salil Chowdhary's son Sanjay to do the background score. The promos are also ready. It's a very young and fresh film. We're now looking at a Valentine's release on Feb 15."

Director Satish Kaushik too is gung-ho about the release. "Milenge Milenge is not the least dated. And why should Shahid and Kareena have any problems dubbing it? In fact, Shahid lives in my building. I've asked him about the dubbing and he's fine by it. Kareena I've known since the time she came into the industry. I gave her first big hit Mujhe Kuch Kehna Hai. Unlike that film Milenge Milenge isn't a South remake. I've entered a new phase of making films based on original scripts. My next release Tere Sang about teen pregnancy is also an original."

Satish was planning to release his other teenybopper romance Tere Sang for Valentine's Day. "But now that Milenge Milenge is being planned for the Valentine week I'll obviously hold back Tere Sang. Apne paon par kulhari nahin marunga…who bhi tez dhaar."

Ajay Devgan dons the uniform again in Sunday

3 years after he last donned the uniform of a law enforcer in a Bollywood flick, Ajay Devgan would be back as a cop in February 2008 release Sunday. It was way back in March 2005 that Devgan played the role of Havaldar Mohammed Ali a.k.a. Mike Alpha in Mani Shankar directed Tango Charlie. The movie was a failure at the box office.

Though in between he did play the role of a SP in a Bhojpuri film Dharti Kahe Pukar Ke (2006), it has been long since Ajay Devgan played a cop in a Bollywood flick. Instead, he has been experimenting with roles as diverse as a small time crook (Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag), a suave criminal mastermind (Cash), a mafia don (Omkara), an easy going impersonator (Golmaal), an ambitious businessman (Shikhar), a henchman (Apaharan), a mentally challenged man (Main Aisa Hi Hoon) and a ghost (Kaal).

Incidentally Rohit Shetty, the man who has directed Sunday, was responsible for projecting Ajay Devgan in a different light when he convinced him to play the role of an Army man in his directorial debut Zameen (2003). Devgan played the character of Col. Ranvir Singh Ranawat, a rough'n'tough Army person who had some interesting on-screen conflicts with Abhishek Bachchan, the film's second lead. Rohit's next film Golmaal was a hardcore comic outing and had Devgan enacting a fun part. Now Sunday mixes the genre of both Zameen and Golmaal and is an out and out action comedy with Devgan as ACP Rajveer.

Also starring Arshad Warsi, Ayesha Takia, Irrfan Khan, Anjana Sukhani and Mukesh Tiwari, Sunday has a unique plot that revolves around the character of Sehar (Ayesha Takia) whose world turns topsy-turvy when she gets a clue about the missing Sunday of her life! This is where ACP Rajveer takes up her case to sort out the complications from Sehar's life.

He kick starts his investigation by checking out various people who had interacted with Sehar on Sunday which include a taxi driver (Ballu), his struggling actor friend (Irrfan Khan), Sehar's best friend (Anjana Sukhani), a scary and suspicious character who resides in Sehar's society, and the group whom she had come across while partying at the discotheque. In the process, he also ends up hitting upon a murder case which brings on the suspense angle to the entire episode.

Produced by Kumar Mangat and Sunil Lulla, Sunday has been shot extensively in Delhi and Mumbai with some portions in Australia. The film is aiming for a 1st February, 2008 release

Jab We Met completes 50 days

Shree Ashtavinayak's blockbuster hit Jab We Met has completed 50 days at the box office. Directed by Imtiaz Ali, Jab We Met which stars Kareena and Shahid Kapoor has been running successfully at the cinema halls for six weeks now and is one of the biggest hits of the season.

Say the producers of the film, Shree Ashtavinayak Cine Vision Ltd, "We are very happy that Jab We Met has completed 50 days and we thank the audiences for appreciating our film so much."

The upcoming films of Shree Ashtavinayak include Superstar starring Kunal Khemu and Tulip Joshi, and Golmaal Returns

Saeed Mirza to direct a film after 11 years

Saeed Mirza, the writer- director of the famous soaps ‘Nukkad’ and ‘Intezaar’, is all geared up to direct a film under the banner of Pritish Nandy Communications. The film is tentatively called Mahanagar, which, incidentally, would be the second film, under the 5-film deal that was signed between Rajat Kapoor and PNC with Raat Gayi Baat Gayi being the first one, which is being directed by Saurabh Shukla.

Saeed, who has films like Naseem and Mohan Joshi Hazir Ho to his credit, will now be rolling the cameras after a long gap of 11 years. Rajat Kapoor, who confirmed the news, said, “Yes, it was very unfortunate for someone like Saeed Mirza not making films for a long while now. Since it was monetary constraints which were keeping him away from the art that he masters at, I made him realize his dreams again and hence, decided to produce his directorial venture. Now, one should see his enthusiasm towards the making of the film.”

When asked about the film story and genre, Rajat said, “Its Saeed Mirza’s film and the genre would be something which he has been popularly known for. As far as the story of the film is concerned, it’s all about the different walks of life in Mumbai. It has 30 characters, all belonging to different arena of life, be it a rich man or from the fashion world. The film revolves around the relationships and inter-connections between their lives.” And as far as the starcast is concerned, he said that nothing has been finalized so far.

Ismail Darbar is composing the music for Mahanagar, which will go on the floors in the month of February.

Bipasha & Ranbir's Secret Test

Bipasha & Ranbir's Secret Test

Bipasha Basu and Ranbir Kapoor took a day off for a photo-session to check out their on-screen compatibility.

While Bipasha had coloured her hair, Ranbir had cut his tidal tresses from Saawariya to a much more manageable length.

Ranbir's immediate struggle is to get into three different looks for three phases of his character's love life in his next film for Yashraj Films to be directed by Siddharth Anand.

For the film which Ranbir insists is NOT a remake of the 1999 Chris O'Donnell romantic comedy The Bachelor, the young actor is required to get into three totally different looks.

The character has to go from age 17 to age 28 and finally to age 35.

Would the 25 -year old be able to pull off the role of a man 10 years older?

The director and actor have spent the last one week getting Ranbir to look older. The actor had his long hair cut by Aalim) to an austere executive styled haircut. Ranbir also plans to sport a stubble to look 35.

For the younger role of the hero at the age of 17 Ranbir intends to sport long hair and a beatnik cool-dude attitude,with clothes and accessories to match.

Says Ranbir, "I've to look compatible with my leading ladies, and yes, this is my first of the three looks for my new film. Working with Siddarth is a very give-and-take thing. We've been friends from the time both of us were kids.

His father is my dad's best friend and his mom and my mom are close friends. So naturally we had no choice but to be friends."

So would Ranbir be working with his childhood chums turned friends, just like the other star-son Abhishek who has done two films with his langotiya pal Goldie Behl?

"I don't know about the future. But right now it's fun working with a friend," says Ranbir.

The film actually goes on the floors on 24 November. But the test shoots are on. And Ranbir is fully into courting his four lovely co-stars in four different sections of the film.

From a single-mindedly devoted saawariya to a roving-eyed casonova…not bad.

Plz Mujhe khana pakana sikha do: Shabana Azmi

Plz Mujhe khana pakana sikha do: Shabana Azmi

Shabana Azmi Who Turned 56 This Year Shares Her Khubsoorati Ka Raaz With Subhash K Jha

You don't seem the least conscious of your age?
The world is expanding and accommodating older people gracefully, and not just in cinema. I don't even dye my hair, much to the annoyance of my friends because they feel everyone knows they dye their hair when they're with me.

They want to kill me because they've been dying their hair for the last ten years while I just have a few grey hairs at 56. I've no problem with dying my hair for a role. But in real life…forget it!

Why do older women go for so many cosmetic makeovers instead of aging gracefully ?
It's a very individual choice. If there are women who can afford it and they feel good about it, why not? You know, there're no rigid rules about life. In the film industry such makeovers are completely justifiable because it's all about the way you look.

You've just featured in a nice frothy comedy.
Yes, The Loins Of Punjab Presents…Its director Manish Acharya belongs to the same group of filmmakers who inhabit an upper middleclass English-speaking world as Farhan Akhtar. These people are as much Indian directors as Shyam Benegal.

I did Loins… without meeting Manish. I had a chotasa role in the ensemble cast. But Manish is a complete cine buff. He knows every Javed Akhtar dialogue from all the Amitabh Bachchan starrers by heart. I don't know how he did it living in New York.

I see this as the new confident India. Today we're confident about taking our song-dance-melodrama formula to the West. This is the real Indian cinema, and they better accept it.

56, and glowing like a magic lamp.
I think part of it comes from me being a Virgo. And as clich├ęd as it may sound my glow comes from being interested in life. Of course I'm not passionate about EVERYTHING I do—how can I be?

But I'm focused on the important things in life. This, I inherited from my father poet Kaifi Azmi) who until the age of 82continued to be involved with life.

You've achieved way beyond our expectations. What about yours?
I never planned anything. And besides, achievement is a very subjective concept. I've done whatever I've been compelled to do, and I've done it all to the best of my abilities.

If I've been recognized or honoured for what I've done then those are bonuses,not the reason for doing what I did.

But Naseeruddin Shah told me you believe actors work consciously towards getting awards?
Naseer feels actors shouldn't at all be conscious of the fact they may win an award. But actors, at the end of it all, are actors. How can they be completely impervious of the end-result of their performances?

Did awards become addictive for you?
Not at all. Babu, the awards happened because those films happened to me at the right time.Those films were served to me on a platter and I'm grateful for them. In the last ten years I find myself more and more at the right place at the right time.

The kind of parts that have come my way recently were unimaginable earlier for an actress my age…Look at Morning Raga, Saaz, Godmother, Fire, Tehzeeb….These are well-structured nuanced characters. Did anyone think ten years ago that actresses in our films would get such roles?

Ten years ago it was pack-up time for heroines at 30. All you could do was hold a thali in a white saree. Today I can play my age. I abhor the thought of playing a younger woman.

The camera doesn't lie. And any attempt to not look your age is pathetic on screen. We don't have proper facilities to look older either. Thank God, we're playing our age. Whether it's Amitabh Bachchan or any of us, we are not made to play younger people.

Look at poor Nirupa Roy. She got substantial roles. But at the age of 30 they made her put grey in her hair. And Achala Sachdev was all of 16 when she played 60.

She quit because she got nightmares about dropping a thali and screaming, 'Nahin !'. You know an actor or any other humanbeing needs to be comfortable in her space at whatever age she is.

Do you miss not being a mother?
Not really. There was a point in my life when I was deeply shocked I couldn't be a mother because I took it for granted that everything normal would happen to me. But that period quickly vanished.

I must thank Honey Akhtar, Javed's first wife, for being so gracious and sharing her children with me. Farhan and Zoya ARE my children. I feel very proud of them.

On the other hand I feel it's wrong for women in our society to be made to feel incomplete just because they are not mothers. Just like my character in Deepa Mehta's Fire. Because I was involved in so many other areas of life and so many productive activities I wasn't judged for not being a mother.

There was no pressure on me for not having children. But I'm sure it'd have been wonderful to have children. And yes, I've never had time for any regrets.

No regrets at all?
Only one. Please Subhash, mujhe khana pakana sikha do. If I knew how to cook, hum honge kamyaab.


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