November 28, 2007

Jaan-E-Mann. Quite late. I know.

I´m cleaning up my drafts list once again, and found a post that I started writing over 6 months ago. I guess that everybody has seen J-e-M by now, but if you resisted so far, maybe this piece can convince you to finally give it a chance.

When I was a little kid, my favorite picture books where books of the kind like the "Where´s Waldo?" series. I could sit for hours and look at one page and still find some new details and invent stories about the drawn characters.

Jaan-E-Mann is the grown up, moving pictures version of a "Where´s Waldo" book. The first time I watched the movie was last year´s Diwali and I liked it somehow but could not quite make up my mind about it. I decided to wait for the DVD release and give it another go. And I was right. Jaan-E-Mann is a movie that needs to be watched at least a second time. Every time I watched it since I found some new totally crazy details.

Sirish Kunder doesn´t offer a very new or exciting story. Sirf woh purani kahani about ek ladki aur do ladke. Here boy no.1 is Suuuperstar Salman Khan, the ex-husband of former college beauty Preity Zinta. Since the Suuuperstar thingy does not quite work the way he planned it, he has trouble coming up with the alimony Preity´s lawyer demand.

Luckly former college geek now astronaut Ahkhay Kumar shows up on the search for his college dream girl Preity and Salman and his chachu Anupam Kher come up with the idea of marrying off Akshay to Preity to get rid of the alimony demands. Kahani khatm? Naah, there´s a bit more. Former geek still has a problem with "tha´ ladies" so Suuuperstar and Chachu decide to send Salman along with Geek to New York to play a little "Cyrano" and make sure the fixing up works out. So far - so hilarious and there are, from a totally girly point of view, I have to confess, pretty convincing moves our man Salman comes up with.

The bad thing about Jaan-E-Mann: You clearly see that this is the director´s debut movie. He goes overboard on style-over-substance at times. He doesn´t manage a narration that is fluid throughout the film. After a totally hyper first half, the more conventional narrational path he takes in the second part feels almost a bit slow.

The good thing about Jaan-E-Mann: It´s the directors debut movie. He goes overboard with some of his ideas, visuals and his editing. He actually caters a devil may care attitude about many of his visual ideas, especially in the first half, that one seldom finds with more experienced directors. And that is what I loved about Jaan-E-Mann.

Oh and after watching OSO I can now clearly state that Farah and Sirish are a match made in heaven. May their combined insanity live long and prosper.

Aata. Can be a timepass.

Yes. I do watch films besides entertaining MiniKhan. Being host to a celeb like him is time consuming but still when the shipment from anytamil came yesterday, I knew what I had to do.

Have you ever read the liner notes on the back of official South Indian DVD´s? I stopped reading them before watching the film long ago. They usually spoiler the whole film. And the Aata DVD is no exception. On the other hand the verdict the authors of said notes are always passing is very often spot on. And the guy writing the one for Aata, worded some of it better then I could ever do. Please allow me quote:

Sri Krishna (Siddarth) is a film delivery man cum son of a theatre projectionist. He meets a beautiful girl at a jathara. That beautiful woman Satya (Illeana) is actually running away from Vicki (Munna) who forcibly wants to marry her. Vikki is son of a home minsiter and he is a bad guy. [Parts left out due to heavy spoilers. And I mean heavy. Except for the last 2 minutes the text tells every major twist] There is a twist in the tale in the end. M S Raju has tried to capture the chemistry between a beautiful young couple, Siddarth and Illeana. He has succeeded in projecting Illeana as a glamour girl. [The following part about the comedy, I don´t agree with the writer. At all. But then, Telugu and Tamil film comedy is something I have slight difficulties with] Her glamour and Suniel´s comedy (especially the hotel room sequences are the best comedy track) are main highlights of Aata. Comedy is a major plus point and also Illeana´s skin show [!!]. The theatre comes down with laughter at Suniel´s hotel lobby episode. It is situational comedy at its best. Chota K Naidu´s cinematography is another scintillating feature [Oh yes]. He has captured the river Godavari so beautifully and has brought richness to the film [Bilkul]. Director V N Aditya´s direction is neat [Autch!]. Aata can be a timepass.

Still, not all is lost. If we check the all important checklist for the discerning drooling Schnuffel cineast:

Schnuffel wearing pink - check
Schnuffel wet - check, check and check etc. ad infinitum
Schnuffel and puppies in same frame - check
Schnuffel fooling around - check
Schnuffel in full action mode - check

Schnuffel dirty and bleeding - check

What can be better than passing time with that...

I knew he would like it there..

We have final exams in our Sound Engineering department at the moment so the studios usually are off-limits to visitors but lunch break today provided a perfect moment for MiniKhan to still sneek into the studio to jam with the guys and fiddle with the mixing desk.

He is not the greatest of bass players but he does groove behind the drumset.

On another note. MK is getting a bit restless now. Because in perfect Bollywood-filmshoot-in-Austria tradition we have to postpone the filming schedule we planned for his stay. Postpone. Not cancel. Samajhe?

[PS: Wanna know what happens at such exams? Watch Pixars newest short Lifted replace the victim with a musician and it shows pretty much what is going on during some of them...]

November 27, 2007

Today is a good Sanjay day

The writer of this blog is very happy today. Sanjay was granted regular bail by the Supreme Court. He will be released from jail during the next 2 days. He has to hand in his passport, deposit a bond and report to the CBI branch in Mumbai once a month. His next court hearing is 6 months away. That is good. He managed to get through by far worse for the last 14 years. He can manage this too. So I´m happy.

And then I got news that from December 7th Dus Kahaniyaan will play at the UCI in Vienna. Sanjay on the big screen as early as Friday after next. So you bet I´m very happy.

I know, I know, there is a bit of a risk that DK might just not be it. But I like its basic concept and there are some very cool people involved in this film(s) and being the eternal optimist I can´t wait to see it.

November 26, 2007

Chestnuts, Punch, Thrills and early Christmas fun

The last weekend in November marks the start of the beginning of the Advent season in Austria and that is when all those beautiful Christmas markets open. Since MiniKhan did not get to celebrate Diwali I thought he should at least get as much of Christmas celebrations as possible.

So after we finally arrived at my sisters´ and he was back to his usual charming self, we took him along to our visit to Salzburg´s picturesque Christkindl-market where we also met with my mum and MiniKhan´s new best friend, my Naani.

Right in the beginning we had a short scary moment, when Sebastian, my 14 months old nephew, got hold of MK. But being the professional "thrills" coordinator he is, he managed to get out of that unharmed (and the big serving of candy cotton afterwards helped to calm his nerves)

After that he really got into an early Christmas feel. Checking out the stands with tree ornaments and sweets, having a glass of Lionsclub Punch and taking in the incredible scenery.

He even got to meet Salzburgs most famous son, W.A. Mozart and he could not resist having his picture taken in front of a "Empress Sissi" display.

He simply loved it in my hometown (and he finally put on some weight munching on chestnuts and cookies)

He can be a bit of a pain in the a**

What did we learn this weekend?
MiniKhan can be rather impatient (as is said about his alter ego) and that is quite irritating.
Our journey started very ok. He was happy when we let him drive for a bit...

But that lasted only for a few minutes...
We´re not even out of Vienna, when the first "Are we there yet?" came...

30 min later. "And now?"

Another 30min down the way: "But now we´re there, hai naa?"

Thankfully he fell asleep short after Ansfelden..

November 23, 2007

hanging out with the gang and a costume fitting session

There was so much going on at the OSO premiere, that MiniKhan had very little opportunity to just hang out, chill and gossip with the cool people of my Viennese BW gang. That´s why he was very keen on accompanying me to our usual hangout spot at Vienna´s Cafe Coffee Day in the 1st district yesterday.

But even there a bit of filmi work was waiting for him. We had a fitting session scheduled with his costume designer, Gabi, for the little film he´s going to shoot here. Thankfully he was very pleased with the way his Don jacket turned out (As if there was any doubt about that. Duh.)

And, tomorrow MK is going on a short weekend trip to Salzburg. I did not tell him yet, but he´s going to meet his new best friend, my grandma, again. As she is too visiting my family. Look for a write-up of his adventures in my beautiful hometown not earlier then Sunday night.

November 22, 2007

more fun in the snow and a new friend

So MiniKhan nagged me into driving to the mountains to get some more authentic winter wonderland feel. Last saturday the weather was perfect and I took him to visit my Naani in Semmering.

And boy those two hit it off instantly. Nani loves Bollywood films and has a special sweet spot for SRK (quote Grandma: "that nice young man"), so it came as no surprise that the two were inseparable and up to mischief the whole day. He even did his "Rahul - routine" for her. (Something he so far has refused to do for me. Not fair.)

They were constantly putting their heads together and came up with the funniest stuff. Like when MK said: "Do you think I´ll get myself into trouble with the Pepsi guys if I do this..?"

To which my usually very sophisticated Grandma said. "Oh fish. India is so far away. Who cares?"

November 21, 2007

Fun in the snow.

So MiniKhan had a lot of fun meeting all those great people at the OSO premiere and we all were partying pretty hard. But he had no time to recover and relax after it, as he had to accompany me to work and help me teaching my filmmusic classes.

And then one morning last week he woke me up all excited because it had been snowing all night. And even when I warned him that his wardrobe was not too suitable for that kind of weather, he insisted on building a snowman.

..And had a ball doing it. So much, in fact, that he nagged me into taking him to the mountains to get some more. But that is a different story...

November 20, 2007

MiniKhan at the OSO Premiere

There was a lot going on in Vienna on November 9th. Not only did Om Shanti Om premiere here, national TV covered the event and everybody was dressing up for the occation. November 9th also marked the date our celebrity traveller MiniKhan arrived from Germany and instantly used the opportunity to meet with fans from Switzerland, Germany and Austria and watched the premiere with a bunch of overexcited girls and gals.

So yes, he´s back from hiding. For all those fearing the worst.. Ab fikar mat karo. He´s alive and very well and I got a little story coming up that might explain if not excuse his absence.

Om Shanti Om - what a night!

Apart from being a fun ride for the discerning Bollywoodfan, Om Shanti Om also is the first BW film that got a mention on national TV, and that at prime time even.

So unsuspecting cinema-goers found themselves facing a camera on November 9th and asked what brought them there.. :-)

(the first few seconds have some errors but later you can even watch yours truly with her name misspelled..)