It's not hard to reason this one but you migh...
Karan Anshuman (Filmmaker/movie critic),
Karan Anshuman is a film critic for Mumbai Mirror. He's worked on a bunch of movie projects, none of which you've ever seen...yet! He's a history, photography, squash, web 2.0, food, and gaming enthusiast who would trade his soul to travel the world.
LOVE WRINKLE FREE: Goa, Desaturated
Director: Sandeep Mohan; Cast: Ash Chandler, Shernaz Patel
A perfectly average dysfunctional family in idyllic Goa has the placid rhythm of their everyday being disturbed when an attractive tourist couple makes an appearance in their lives. For most part, Love Wrinkle Feel is engaging, charming, aptly cast, and honest. But then something goes terribly awry.
Savio markets underwear, dreams of turning an entrepreneur and does a Marlon Brando impersonation that he cannot resist flaunting at every opportunity. With his mid-life issues, family balancing act, and the inability to grapple with the idea that a pretty, young girl is interested in him, Savio is a superbly etched character played by Ash Chandler who does a splendid job, a natural brand of acting with his pitch perfect Goan lilt.
His wife (Shernaz Patel in one of her best) is intent on staying young (anti-wrinkle cream and all) and retaining her position in the church choir despite their wish to have younger folk. And then there is their daughter who resorts to a passive aggressive defense mechanism to mask her insecurity of an adopted Tibetan in a Goan family.
Soon in their lives comes a gangster who has a hair fetish, his dopey son, a high-flying venture capitalist who promises Savio the sky, and his free-spirited photographer girlfriend. It’s hard to find such irreverent characters with their streak of authenticity and you’re deeply invested in their tale for four-fifths of the way.
However, director Sandeep Mohan--after maintaining perfect equilibrium in every department for most part including a often hilarious potpourri pairing of music/lyrics and visuals (‘Momo Kha’ is as silly as it’s catchy)--he decides to simply let go and gives you an inexplicably flat and senseless ending, almost as if he didn’t know what to do after a point. Characters simply vanish into thin air leaving every end of every string untied. Is this intentional and meant to work solely at a metaphorical level? Possibly, but even that doesn’t take away from the fact that it is deadly dull and disappointing.
Love Wrinkle Free is one of the better all-English films in recent memory and if that’s your cup of high tea, by all means watch. Be prepared though, for a cop out climax that makes a potentially good film, average.
ARJUN: Serious Toon
Director: Arnab Chaudhuri; Cast: Yuddvir Bakolia, Anjan Srivastav, Sachin Khedekar, Ila Arun, Vishnu Sharma
Arjun--in the making for what seems like half a decade (the first viewing of the groovy promo was over 4 years ago) and touted as India’s big step towards a world-class animated film--finally comes to theaters. Has it been worth the wait? In a line: not quite world class, but still amongst the best animated features from India.
As far as the subject goes, it’s pointless to get into the old debate on the infatuation of animation in India with Hindu mythology. There is probably a statistical reason that supersedes the importance of imagining an original storyline that will connect with children even though kids generally are, of course, more accepting of universal themes than are adults.
The big plus of course is the familiarity of the audience with the story, allowing the narrative to cut to the chase. A vast tale with thousands of tracks and characters, conveniently told from a single person’s point-of-view without missing a beat.
And even though you’re well aware of the plot, there’s hardly a text more open to interpretation than the Mahabharata. Because Arjun has primarily a young audience in mind (rated U), it plays extremely safe and skims over the tricky bits (mostly involving Draupadi) and uses basic filler material between the set action pieces involving Arjun. I liked how the frame story merges into the main plot and the buildup to the climax, which smartly concludes well before the final Kurukshetra war.
Disappointing however, are two aspects: the first, as I mentioned earlier, the fact that there is no alternate interpretation of any aspect of the epic (it’s 2012, you can take a few chances!) and the lack of humor (Bheem and his ravenousness provide the mildest respite). When was the last time you saw an animated film that didn’t have large doses of humor to make you laugh?
The effort in the animation shows in bursts. Backgrounds (and some settings are most inventive) are rendered meticulously, but the characters are born of the same pencil. With facial feature detailing similar in most cases, height is often the primary differentiating factor along with some tidy voice acting.
There is commendable use of camera angles especially in the sweeping long shots of the final battle. But there are patches of tackiness too, such as the opening title sequence, which looks like an afterthought executed on a typewriter.
If you’re looking for reasons to watch Arjun, there are several. Just don’t go expecting Pixar levels of razzmatazz; and you’ll come away appreciative.
Read more reviews by Karan Anshuman here
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