Utpal Borpujari

July 1, 2012

DVD Reviews: Land Gold Women, Buenos Aires 1977, The Mahabharata, Viva Cuba, The Ides of March

By Utpal Borpujari

Land Gold Women

Behind the façade of modernity lie the ugly realities of life — more so in
the societies of South Asia and other nations with significant expatriate populations. Take the UK, with a huge population of Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and Sri Lankans, where the action of this film is set. This directorial debut by Avantika Hari has under focus a small British Asian family caught between their traditional past and tumultuous present. Shot in Birmingham, the film holds a dark secret at its core, which shockingly unfolds towards the climax in a story that revolves around a fatherdaughter relationship. A powerful and relevant film that unfolds idyllically, it has been the winner of a clutch of awards, including the National Award for the Best English film.

Dir: Avantika Hari, Language: English, Junglee Home Video; Rs 299

Buenos Aires 1977

Nominated for the Palm d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, this thriller is a superb example of edge-of-the-seat cinema. Set during the fascist period of Argentina, it is the story of Claudio, a goalkeeper in a Bleague soccer team who is kidnapped by the military government and tortured at a detention centre known as Sere Mansion. The detention exposes Claudio to a world of nightmares and he has to fight for survival every minute. As everything points to the likelihood of his execution at the hands of the fascists, Claudio makes a desperate bid for escape one stormy night along with three of his co-prisoners. A grim story that spellbinds the viewer, it will keep you glued to your seat till ‘the end’ sign comes up.

Dir: Israel Adrián Caetano, Language: Spanish, Shemaroo World Cinema; Rs 349

The Mahabharata

If you love theatre, grab this. This Peter Brook play, adapted from the great Indian epic, comes with Hindi as its language — probably the only dampening feature as the play actually has a multinational cast who speak English in the original play. Nonetheless, this recorded version of the famous play still is a collector’s item, especially for Brook’s grandiose production and interpretation of what is perhaps the world’s most engrossing epic. The DVD comprises a six-hour abridged version of the original nine-hour play that was developed over a period of eight years by award-winning writer Jean-Claude Carriere. The recording of the Emmy Award winner for the best performing arts programme has been remastered and restored for this DVD.

Dir: Peter Brooks, Language: Hindi, Shemaroo; Rs 499

Viva Cuba

Considered the first children’s film to come out from Cuba, this Grand Prix Ecrans Juniors Award winner at the Cannes Film Festival has equally interesting stories both in it as well as in its making. It is the story of Malù and Jorgito. Malù comes from an upper-class family and her single mother frowns at the idea of her playing with Jorgito. Jorgito’s mother, a poor socialist, also forbids him from playing with Malù as she is too proud of her family’s social standing. But the power of innocence that is inherent in every child is underestimated by both the mothers. The story develops further as the children find out that Malù’s mother is planning to leave Cuba for good, and to prevent it, they travel to the other side of the island in search of Malù’s father, a lighthouse keeper, to persuade him against signing the requisite forms. The real names of the kids who played the characters were actually Malù Tarrau Broche and Jorgito Milò Avila, and many scenes in the film were played out by them purely out of their imagination.

Director: Juan Carlos Cremata Malberti, Language: Spanish, Shemaroo World Cinema; Rs 349

The Ides of March

An adaptation of Beau Willimon’s 2008 play Farragut North, this political
thriller has a power-packed cast led by George Clooney, also the director of the film. Starring Ryan Gosling, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti and Marisa Tomei, the events of the film happen during the days running into the heavily-contested Ohio presidential primary, when an upand-coming campaign press secretary finds himself involved in a political scandal that threatens to upend his candidate’s shot at the presidency. How he is able to come out clean forms the crux of the story. A good weekend viewing it is.

Director: George Clooney, Language: English, Reliance Home Video; Rs 599

(Published in Seven Sisters Post, http://www.sevensisterspost.com, 16-06-2012)

http://sevensisterspost.com/?p=20179#

DVD Reviews: Sahib, Biwi Aur Gangster/ The World At War/ Antardwand/ The Rum Diary

By Utpal Borpujari

Sahib, Biwi Aur Gangster

A modern version of Guru Dutt’s classic Sahib, Biwi Aur Ghulam, this Tigmanshu Dhulia film caught the attention of viewers for its fast-paced drama in which the sahib is a former royal now surviving through contract killing assignments, the biwi is a frustrated woman craving for the husband’s attention, and the ghulam in this case is a gangster planted in saheb’s household by a rival gang. With the saheb busy in his business and an affair with a mistress, the biwi gets into a relationship with the gangster, and uses him to settle scores with her husband. But the story does not end there as the gangster gets ambitious and wants the biwi for himself. A story of twists and turns, the film is a good watch, thanks to its well-written screenplay and solid performances by its cast, including Jimmy Shergill, Randeep Hooda, Mahie Gill and Vipin Sharma.

Dir: Tigmanshu Dhulia, Language; Hindi Reliance Home Video; Rs 299

The World At War

This sure is a collector’s edition if you are a history buff — especially world history. With narration by Sir Laurence Olivier, this nine-DVD box set is a dream come true for those who want to know all about the World War II without reading weighty tomes about it. Made for television, this series first made its screen appearance way back in October 31, 1973, when memories of the last great war were still fresh in people’s minds and a huge number of war veterans were still alive. Replete with rare footages from the War, this series makes for engrossing viewing, and can be a good tool to educate yourself and your children on the hows and whys of such humongous wars and how the Cold War evolved as a consequence of it. The dramatic footages, supplemented by Olivier’s powerful commentary and interviews of those who fought those wars or had witnessed them, make this a memorable viewing. A special attraction is the episodes on Adolf Hitler, and his people and politics.

TV series; 9 DVDs Boxset, Shemaroo; Rs 2,499

Antardwand

This is a slice of the story that makes for compelling viewing. A social phenomenon widely written about in the media, “groom abduction”, locally called “pakrauh shaadi”, is a practice in Bihar and parts of eastern Uttar Pradesh in which parents of girls, who cannot afford to meet obnoxious dowry demands per the abominable social practice, get suitable boys abducted and married to their daughters. Directed by Sushil Rajpal, this film, winner of the National Award for the Best Film on Social Issues, has competent performances by its cast comprising Raj Singh Chaudhary, Swati Sen, Vinay Pathak and Akhilendra Mishra, among others. Go for this one if you believe in your cinema to be thought-provoking and not brainless wonders.

Dir: Sushil Rajpal, Language: Hindi, YRF, Rs 199

The Rum Diary

Based on a novel by Hunter S Thompson, this Johnny Deppstarrer almost holds a mirror to many ills facing the media, albeit in an oblique way. Depp, known for choosing the unusual even within the mainstream Hollywood, plays Paul Kemp, a journalist who flees New York’s increasing noise and mad rush to the relaxed lifestyle of Puerto Rico, where he finds a job with a local newspaper run by a down-andout editor, played by Richard Jenkins. Quickly settling into the rumsoaked atmosphere of Puerto Rico, Kemp gets irresistibly attracted towards a beautiful lady who turns out to be the fiancée of a businessman whose dealings are nothing but shady. Kemp, approached by the businessman to write favourably about one of his new and shady projects, has to make a choice. Can he keep his conscience — is what forms the climax of this interesting story.

Dir: Bruce Robinson, Language: English, Reliance Home Video; Rs 499

(Published in Seven Sisters Post, http://www.sevensisterspost.com, 09-06-2012)

http://sevensisterspost.com/?p=17803#

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