Mukti

The seeker of the truth

Posted in action, Drama, movies, thriller by jrahman on March 13, 2016

Raj, the Desi guy in the sitcom Big Bang Theory, compliments his friend’s deductions in an episode as ….a regular Byomkesh Bakshi.  Another friend quips — What’s that?  An Indian Sherlock Holmes?, drawing Raj’s retort — Perhaps Holmes is an English Byomkesh Bakshi!

Of course, Holmes predates Bakshi by decades.  And I have no idea how widely known Bakshi is outside of erstwhile Bengal.  Or even among the Bengalis for that matter — growing up, I was certainly more familiar with Satyajit Ray’s Feluda than Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay’s satyanweshi (the seeker of the truth).

Perhaps this has changed with the recent films coming out of Kolkata and Bollywood?

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Old school spy flicks

Posted in action, Bollywood, movies, thriller by jrahman on February 2, 2016

Tired of the Batmanisation of the genre?  Well, we have had a couple of old solid gold old school spy movies of late.  Last year there was the Guy Ritchie version of a 1960s TV show.

And before that we saw the screen version of a British comics.

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The force is strong…

Posted in action, movies, sci-fi by jrahman on January 1, 2016

… at least for now.  Upon watching it again, I tentatively, and partially, echo Brad DeLong:

Recommended Star Wars Viewing Order:

  1. The Force Awakens
  2. A New Hope
  3. The Empire Strikes Back

And that is it. Everything else would simply be a letdown, and leave viewers disappointed.

Tentatively, because The Force Awakens leaves so many threads open that we cannot really judge it conclusively until the rest of the trilogy plays out.  Partially, because the rest of the refined canon (including the much derided prequels) has relevant material.  Both points, and more, will be elaborated in a long form piece soon.  Over the fold is some theory about the movie’s central plot twist.  (Spoiler alert).

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Prisoner of Jhind

Posted in action, adventure, books, Drama, movies, thriller, Uncategorized by jrahman on November 20, 2015

Good thing you skipped Salman Khan’s new movie.  They made the movie around 14 songs collected over many years. Waste of time!

That’s my brother on the recent Bollywood adaptation of The Prisoner of Zenda.  The lookalike-as-a-plant has been used as a plot device many times, including those starring Bollywood bigshots.  My favourite retelling on pages is the Flashman caper involving the Schleswig-Holstein Question — note to self, must blog about Flashman sometime.

But for the screen, let me recommend the 1961 Bangla adaptation.  Adapted to the Indian settings by Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay of Byomkesh fame, the movie contains great visuals of the rugged Central and Western Indian terrain, decade-and-half before Sholay.  Uttam Kumar in the title role is solid, but Soumitra Chatterjee as a villain is sublime — an early cut of his performance in Ghare Baire two decades later.  Oh, there is also a Bengali nationalist twist in the mix.

The best thing about the movie, however, is its music.  Ali Akbar Khan matches the likes of Ennio Morricone.  They just don’t do tunes like that any more.

 

 

 

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Between the war and the history wars….

Posted in 1971, action, Dhallywood, history, movies by jrahman on November 19, 2015

…. there was a time when acknowledging Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s unquestioned leadership in 1971 did not stop one from acknowledging the significance of Ziaur Rahman’s broadcasts from Chittagong.  Chashi Nazrul Islam’s film Sangram is from that time.  It’s a fictionalised account of the experiences of the 4th East Bengal Regiment during the onset of the Liberation War.

In March 1971, the seniormost Bengali officer in the 4th Bengal, stationed in Comilla, was Major Khaled Mosharraf.  Just before the 25 March crackdown, he was sent to border regions in Sylhet, ostensibly to fight Naxalites but really to be ambushed by the Pakistanis.  Khaled avoided the trap and returned to Comilla where Captain Shafaat Jamil and others had already rebelled.

In the movie, Khaled is renamed Major Hassan.   Jump to about 44 minute mark in the video below to see how the major addresses his troops — Pakistanis have attacked us, Sheikh Sahib has declared independence, our job is to defend that independence.

 

Immediately after that, he is shown as listening to Zia’s radio speech and noting that his is not an isolated mutiny.  That is the real significance of Zia’s March broadcasts, to tell the world that Bangladesh was an independent but occupied land and a war of resistance had begun against that occupation.

When Mr Islam made that movie in 1974, he understood the significance perfectly well, as did his leading man Khasru — both were freedom fighters, the actor was and remained an Awami League activist, the director ended up in BNP.  In the last scene, Sheikh Mujib is seen as taking salute from the Bangladesh army, with Khaled, Zia and other senior officers behind him.

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Bond and the baddies

Posted in action, books, Drama, movies, sci-fi, sci-fi, thriller, thriller, TV by jrahman on November 17, 2015

Bond movies, even the forgettable ones starring Pierce Brosnan, are to be watched as soon as possible, with a group of friends, to be followed by an adda where you can dissect the said movie every which way.  The new movie opened here couple of weeks after the worldwide premiere, and it’s hard to avoid the chatter in our hyper-connected world.  So I was very keen to watch it during the weekend.  Needless to say, the Black Friday in Paris cast a shadow.  But to let that tragedy stop us from discussing movies and books would be a betrayal of the joie de vivre and La Résistance that we associate Paris with. 

Hence this post, which is not really a movie review.  I liked Spectre about as much as Skyfall — not good as Casino Royale, but much better than Quantum of Solace.  

Is this movie too sentimental or emotional?  Does Bond fall in love too easily?  Is he not ruthless enough?  Well, this is what you get from Batmanisation — you can’t give the guy a backstory with emotions without turning him, well, emotional.  But it’s also Sherlockisation — am I coining a term here?  Let me elaborate.  In one of the very first scenes of the BBC show, an eccentric chemist deduces that his potential flatmate, a complete stranger, is an Afghanistan vet — a scene straight out of the pages of the first Holmes novel.  While not a strict adaptation of anything specific of Doyle, every other scene in Sherlock harks back to the cannon.  So it is in Spectre, which continues Bond’s evolution from a thug-with-a-government-paper to mister-suave, paralleling the evolution from the earlier, younger, rough-edged Connery to the later, older, smoother Moore.  If anything, the forthcoming fifth Craig-starter (don’t believe the hysterics about him not doing another) is set up pretty well for a…. okay, we are getting ahead of ourselves.

Let me pause here and turn to one aspect of the Bond lore  — the antagonists, the villains, the baddies. 
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Politics in the Star Wars

Posted in action, Drama, governance, movies, politics, sci-fi, TV by jrahman on January 28, 2015

No, not the politics of the Star Wars saga — been there, done that in what seems to be a long time ago….. (oh, the Daily Star archives don’t work! — note to self: must do something about old articles.  No, not the politics of the star wars, but politics in the star wars, to be precise, in the upcoming trilogy.

A few weeks ago, there was a debate about whether the new movies should dabble in politics.  I think I should note my thoughts about this very important matter.

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Escape from reality

Posted in action, books, movies, thriller by jrahman on January 10, 2015

I’ve been binge-watching Breaking Bad over the holidays — about that some other time — and this has been on my mind.

serious

The real world is so serious, so I am going to run-run-run runaway.

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Planet of humans

Posted in action, Drama, foreign policy, history, movies, Muslim world, sci-fi, West Asia, World Wars by jrahman on August 3, 2014

(Updated: 1353 BDT, Aug 24 2014).

Factors that have put the blog on a deep freeze are the same ones that keep me from going to the movies.  And in any case, who needs movies when you have Game of Thrones and Zia Haider Rahman?  Dawn of the Planet of the Apes?  A sequel to a prequel reboot — the second one in a decade or so — of a 1960s movie that spawned four (or five?) sequels in the 1970s, with a confusing title — rise before dawn, were the producers observing Ramadan — is it really worth making the effort for this, I asked myself.

dawn_of_apes_teaser_poster

I am glad I did make the effort.  The movie has received positive reviews, and is a box office smash.  And it has generated enough bubbles between my ears to force my fingers on the keyboard.  (Warning: this is not a movie review, and thus I am not confined by the ‘no spoiler’ norm — read at your own risk).

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The best ‘superhero’ movie

Posted in action, fantasy, movies, Uncategorized by jrahman on December 25, 2013

The Guardian has been listing top 10 movies by genre.  Batman, Superman, Spider-man, Ironman all make at least one appearance, as do the Avengers and X-Men, and so does pleasingly surprisingly, Blade, in the superhero list, which is predictably topped by The Dark Knight.

Now, the Dark Knight Trilogy is right up there in terms of Hollywood epic grandeur.  And I am partial to the political philosophy themes in that series.  I should sometime write a piece on that.

But I think the best ‘superhero’ movie — by which, I of course mean a trilogy — is yet to be made.

skull ring

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