TLC Awards (Achievements in Film, 2013)

The Lazy Critic Blog establishes two awards this year, celebrating the best and worst of Indian cinema. What the Finger Awards acknowledges the bullshit audiences have been forced to endure. The TLC Awards applauds the best cinematic work of 2013 and hopes for even better films this year.

Woody Allen Award for Casting

Because the man made a very interesting and relevant point when he wrote to the Academy on how Casting should be included as an Oscar category. TLC acknowledges the efforts of casting directors who painstakingly put together the most effective cast for our films. The first Woody Allen Award for Casting goes to –

Honey Trehan for Fukrey

TLC Award for Best Choreography

Ganesh Acharya, Terence Lewis, Vishnu Deva and Sameer for Goliyon ki Ras Leela – Ram Leela

TLC Award for Best Costume and Make up

Ameira Punvani for David

TLC Award for Best Music

Amit Trivedi for Lootera

and

Sanjay Leela Bhansali for GKRL – Ram Leela

TLC Award for Best Lyrics

Amitabh Bhattacharya for Lootera

TLC Award for Best Screenplay

Bejoy Nambiar for David

TLC Award for Best Dialogue

Kunal Khemu, Sita Menon, and Raja Sen for Go Goa Gone

TLC Award for Best Cinematography

S. Ravi Varman for GKRL – Ram Leela

TLC Award for Best Editing

Arindam Ghatak for Go Goa Gone

And now, for the biggies…

TLC Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role – Female

Richa Chaddha for Fukrey

TLC Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role – Male

Pankaj Kapur for Matru ki Bijli ka Mandola

TLC Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role – Male

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Neeraj Kabi for Ship of Theseus

and

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Farhan Akhtar for Bhaag Milkha Bhaag

TLC Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role – Female

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Deepika Padukone for GKRL – Ram Leela and Chennai Express

TLC Award for Best Director

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Vikramaditya Motwane for Lootera

Special Mention: Dibakar Banerjee for Bombay Talkies

 TLC Award for Best Film

Lootera

and

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 Shahid

Special Performance Awards

Naman Jain for Bombay Talkies

Sidharth Nigam for Dhoom 3

Riya Vij for  Gippi

New Music Talent

Arijit Singh

Best Film of the Decade

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Meghe Dhaka Tara

Directed by: Kamaleshwar Mukherjee

Language: Bengali

Photo courtesy: Google Images

Wassup Cumberbitches: Reasons Why Benedict Cumberbatch is the World’s Favourite Star

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His fans call themselves Cumberbitches or Holmesexuals. They camp overnight outside hotels just to catch a glimpse. Even Tokyo airport was brought to a standstill when he landed in Japan. And women and men are equally enamoured by his charisma.

Yeah, that’s what he calls us.

This is what happened in Japan –

This is how he controlled the fans –

He debuted at the age of twelve as Titania Queen of Fairies in a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Most kids play camels and sheep in Nativity plays at that age.

Piece of cake, actually.

Besides being a stage, film, television and voice actor, he is an excellent rugby player since his school days and started painting oil canvasses while in Harrow (oh yes, he studied at Harrow).

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After finishing school, he taught English at a Buddhist monastery in Tibet for a year before going off to the University of Manchester to study drama. He continued his education in dramatic arts from LAMDA afterwards. Over-qualified much?

Cumberbatch achieved the “Triple Crown of London Theatre” in 2011 when he was awarded the Olivier Award, Evening Standard Award and Critics’ Circle Theatre Award for his performance in Danny Boyle’s Frankenstein.

He has portrayed Sherlock Holmes to Julian Assange, Stephen Hawking to Vincent Van Gogh, Alan Turing to Percy Fawcett on television and film. Talk about being multi-faceted.

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His filmography is an actor’s envy. From Atonement, Creation, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Fifth Estate, War Horse, 12 Years a Slave, the latest Star Trek and The Hobbit – he has bagged them all.

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He is the king of the internet along with being the most searched personality on Google UK. Not to forget that the most popular pages on Buzzfeed today are dedicated to him. And a new Cumberbatch meme is made every day.

Yes sir!

His numbers are equally impressive. The heavily-anticipated first episode of Sherlock Season 3 enjoyed a viewership of 12.7 million. That is the new record, breaking that of Doctor Who in 2002.

Take that!

His television appearances are a visual delight. From a near-perfect imitation of Alan Rickman to making the funniest of faces during stiff-collared interviews, Cumberbatch has done it all. And he strikes up an instant rapport with fellow celebrity guests like Harrison Ford, Tom Hiddleton and the recent Sherlock-on-Sherlock interview with Robert Downey Jr.

Your wish is my command.

Image Courtesy: Google Images and Buzzfeed.com 

A Brand New Mumbai Landmark: Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport Terminal 2

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The new integrated state-of-the-art Terminal 2 at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) was inaugurated on the 10th of January by Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh.Terminal 2 or T2 as an iconic mega-structure (measuring 4.4 million sq. ft.) that will set global benchmarks in airport infrastructure development. Featuring a highly compact design by New York based SOM, T2 will have the ability to handle 40 million passengers annually. Traversing across four-levels, the vertical and compact design of T2 integrates all operations (International, Domestic, Cargo, Ground Handling, Security, Retail, etc.) under one roof .

T2 is also India’s largest art programme, housing over 9000 original art pieces which include 7000 original artifacts collected from all over the country and art installations by 1500 Indian artists. I attended the inauguration and was treated to a fantastic 3-hour tour of the airport this weekend. Here is a tour for my readers through photographs. The design inspiration is the peacock and phulkari work of North India. Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla have designed the lotus chandeliers.

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The art programme, Jaya He, is primarily spread over 3 kms of wall space along with independent sculptures and installations which can be seen at Arrivals, Departures, Immigrations, and Baggage. Most interestingly, the artworks juxtapose seamlessly with the modern design and architecture of the airport, rather than being a separate segment. The whole airport thus becomes an art museum showcasing India’s historical and contemporary art.

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And to top it all, the diya wall at Arrivals is an absolute stunner. Not to mention, it is such an aesthetic work of technology.

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For more on CSIA and art programme, visit http://www.mansworldindia.com. The lazy ones can read the whole story here. Welcome to Mumbai, world!

Photographs: Arnesh Ghose

Romance, Poetry, and the Lovelorn Nawab

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Saat mukaam hote hai ishq mein – dilkashi, uns, mohabbat, aqeedat, ibaadat, junoon aur…

I don’t remember Ishqiya too well. I remember being impressed, I remember being unimpressed. I remember applauding the performances, I remember finding the performances flawed. I remember the music, I forget the music. I loved the dialogues, I hated the dialogues. Ishqiya was the beginning of a mature franchisee. Ishqiya was not mature enough.

Yeh dil ki lakeer hai, jagah jagah kati huyi, ishq mei bahut chotein khaai hain aapne

For someone who always stresses on the screenplay and plotline for cinema and theatre, Dedh Ishqiya remains a dilemma. The plot is mediocre, the storyline is easily predictable. But, in a very surprising manner, the film seems unaffected by this major gaffe. Is it because acting stalwarts are at the helm on screen? Is it the production value (up by quite some notches from the first installment) or the sheer prowess of the dialogues? Which factors are powerful enough to induce the hawk-eyed of critics to forgive the lack of a strong storyline?

Pehle bhi dekha hai ishq mein andha bawla hote. Par chutiya pehli baar dekhriya hoon main

The writing, for starters. It was a very intelligent decision to bring Gulzar saab on board as a writer for a story based on poets and lovers in suburban Uttar Pradesh. The result is exquisite Urdu spoken with a rhythm and passion so rare in the country today. Gulzar saab might be the only living individual who romances the language, like a coy bride, coaxing it to slowly unveil itself. When someone writes this –

Phoolon ki tarah lab khol kabhi

Khushboo ki zubaan mein bol kabhi

                                                                                                                                       – you realize that this man is in a relationship with the language. His dialogues (written along with Vishal Bhardwaj) and lyrics for the film shine with wit, humour, and a mature romance which lends a beautiful mood. While Bhardwaj’s music is not as good as the first film, Humari atariya, Ishqiya, and Na bolu main are beautiful numbers steeped in nostalgia. When Humari atariya plays for the first time from a gramophone, it reminds you of the beautiful Akhtari ghazal it is inspired by. The production, costume, and set design are impeccable with an almost anal madness for detail. Shot in warm and jewel tones, the cinematography aptly supports the mood set by the dialogues and the music.

Itna mehenga? Sherwani ke andar Nawab bhi taang rakha hai kya?

Two small time uncle-nephew thief duo, Khalu jaan and Babban, decide to pretend like poets to win the heart of a widowed Begum looking for a poet husband. While the uncle falls for the Begum, even though his original identity is a niggling worry behind the farce he creates of being the Nawab of Chandpur, the nephew embarks upon a stormy affair with the Begum khaas attendant. A powerful MLA keeps a poet under house arrest to churn out poetry for him to woo the Begum. While the Begum finds herself losing herself to the older thief, which poet will she choose for a husband? And does she have any ulterior motive? Does Muniya, her attendant, have a mind of her own? Or are they hatching a plan together? The limp story line is propped up on scenes that stand strong on their own. The opening sequence with Mushtaq bhai, the thieving duo’s boss, and Babban is crackling with wit. When Khalu and Babban pretend to be a Nawab and a butler out to purchase expensive jewellery is another example. The intelligence of these singular moments is admirable – the masterstroke is the hint of lesbianism at the turning point of the film which explains everything without saying anything at all.

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Agar Joker mar gaya to saala Batman kya karega? Ghar baithke aataa goondega?

These moments are further enhanced, of course, by the performances. Naseer saab and Madhuri share a wonderful chemistry on screen, which is both innocent and fragile, yet burning with passion. Arshad surprises us again with how impressive a character actor he is. His camaraderie with Naseer saab’s Khalu jaan is a cinematic treat – understated, natural, and witty. It was wonderful to see Vijay Raaz after a very long time and he does a fantastic job as the corrupt MLA. Huma Qureshi is overpowered by everybody and she tries hard to shine through, unfortunately though. It must have been an excellent learning opportunity for her to have worked with such a veteran cast. Also, the actor who plays the role of Mushtaq bhai needs special mention everywhere.

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The most impressive factor about Dedh Ishqiya is that it does not allow itself to be restrained by the demands of the box office. Abhishek Chaubey introduces the audience to chaste urdu, ghazal and durbari music, elderly romance, sombre moments, and nostalgia, and treats them as mainstream components. That is where his achievement lies. DI tells you that, even though you may sway your hips to Gandi baat, romance lies in the soft tremors of the heart. Na bolu main toh kaleja phute…Jo bol doon toh zubaan jale hai.

Image courtesy: Google images