Black, The Last Samurai and Manichitrathazhu

After buying a Sony TV and DVD Player, it was this weekend that I had a chance to make use of the both completely as it was continuously raining in Chennai and hence stopping me from going out. I rented three movie DVDs and watched them twice each. Black, The Last Samurai and Manichitrathazhu.

Black: Well, all the debates for rejecting Black as India’s official entry for Oscars are settling down and there are many reasons discussed why it is not selected. Who cares? This movie is definitely one of the finest Indian melodramas made in an internationally acceptable way. It is a movie for our soul and not for the mind. I have written a lot about this movie here. Now after watching it in DVD, I just fell in love with it now than before. I am thinking of owning a DVD of this movie. The special features in the DVD are not good enough though. It would have been better if they had included Director’s commentary on the movie. There are very less movie making footages. But the audio and video quality is at par.

The Last Samurai: It is a beautiful movie which I thought didn’t get enough recognition (you know what I mean, the Oscars). The Oscar jury was greatly interested in rewarding the LOTR trilogy and so even with 5 nominations; this movie couldn’t fetch even one. I don’t know how much the plot is historically correct but I love this movie for what Nathan Algren loves Samurai’s. It is a well crafted movie. All the performances are top notch especially that of Ken Wantanabe (Katsumoto). I can say this movie has got the best performance of Tom Cruise. If there is a flaw in the movie, it could be a little confusing characterization of Katsumoto. I was blown away by the background score by Hans Zimmer. The love theme is beautiful and so are the thundering scores for the action sequences. The conversations as Kastumoto often says is good and touching. On the whole, it is a yet another unforgettable movie.

Manichitrathazhu: At last, I saw the original of “Chandramukhi” which has created a unimaginable record in Indian box -office. No doubt, the original is a classic. This is the first ever Malayalam movie that I am watching. I am so impressed by the way they visualize stories. The down to earth tone, subtle humor, controlled acting, soothing music are all assets for Malayalam cinema then. For sure, P. Vasu has done lot of damages to the original plot but at the same time, we should accept that he has Rajinified the plot well.

Finally, after watching all such great movie, I went to Sivakasi on compulsion. Though it seems that Vijay has arrived as a poor man’s rajini, there is a limit for everything. I have taken a pledge that I would never watch a vijay movie in future unless it is made by some worthy director.


Ram said...

hello.. have been reading your reviews and posts. you have a nice descriptive style which captures a lot for your readers.

i have something to say about your views on 'Black' though.

Agreed it packs great performance from its actors and technically its very good. However,it lacks subtlity with which the central theme is handled. In my opinion thats what separates great films from good ones.

The very same aspects for which people love Black are the reasons why i feel it is not worthy of the greatness that is being bestowed.You do not need two hours of relentless black/white contrasts to show the emotions involved. The whole set up (the anglo-english family, non-descript period where the story develops, hill station background etc.)somehow for a sensitive movie goer it is highly contrived. Overly melodramatic screen play, acutely over-the-board characterizations, to add a few more.

It is obvious that as a Director, Bhansali had greater faith in the abilities of his actors and the cameraman than his own and in the final outcome it is plainly evident. As the much acclaimed director/writer's film, i find Black a contrived and pathetic attempt at greatness.

I do understand that every one of us have our own independent thoughts and i respect that. However, while using the superlatives, you have to be cicumspective.

Suresh Kumar said...

hi ram,

thanx for reading my posts. Anyway, i won't agree with you at all. The backgdrop, set, or the colour doesn't matter to me, it is the emotion that matters. yes, there is a lot of melodrama in it. But i never said that it is realistic. Infact, i have quoted it as "finest melodramas". first of all, i was not a big fan of SLB before, didn't like his Devdas at all. But considering his caliber as a film maker, this is a great effort. if the superlative term is only the problem, then take it this way, "For me, black is one of the finest indian melodramas".

Narayanan Venkitu said...

I would like to comment on Manichithrathazhu.!!

Its a masterpiece no doubt about it. Like you've said, they've done a class act in the story visualization.

Please watch more Mal. movies. They are a world apart.!! Though I am from Madras, I like to watch Good Malayalam films too.!

Ram said...

thanks for dropping by my blog and leaving your comments. appreciate that.

i read your comment on my Thiruvasagam post as well. i guess you got me fundamentally wrong. i have no problem with people bestowing superlatives. if i don't understand why, then i should strive to understand the same. thats been my stance. with Illayaraja's Thiruvasagam, while i have no doubt it is a major work,i had said i wish i get some help to appreciate it better rather then reading mere platitudes.

there has been many instances where i have changed my views over a period.. in some i have learnt and have started to appreciate things better, in others i have still learnt, but, to appreciate better things.

Suresh Kumar said...

nayaran: sure will watch. can you list the name of some of his best.

ram: cool. i get you know. just thought you are always like that.