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‘Bird Box’ Review: Great beginning of the year for movie watchers



Bird Box

New Delhi, Jan 2: After an unprecedented 2018, this is a great way to begin 2019. A ballsy post-apocalyptic drama which brought me close to falling off my seat on several occasions, “Bird Box” is that thriller which we all have been waiting for, but none of us knew where to look.


“Bird Box” (Netflix)

Cast: Sandra Bullock, Trevante Rhodes, Sarah Paulson

Director: Susanne Bier

Rating: *** ½ (3 and a half stars)

It’s stylish, woefully predictable at times and yet has room for emotional lubrication.

There is scope for lugubriousness. But director Susanne Bier avoids all excesses of emotional violence, as Malorie (Sandra Bullock) sets off on a long river journey with her two small children (born on the same day, though not twins, if you will!) to escape sure-death in the hands of an unidentifiable presence that has gripped the globe.

No, it doesn’t kill. It just makes everyone commit suicide.

Verging on the outrageous, “Bird Box” pulls back from toppling over just in time every time it’s threatened by a narrative lunacy. Partly the credit for keeping the proceedings credible goes to the performances, not just Bullock who is fine, though I did have a problem accepting trauma on that over-chiselled face.

The other actors specially Tom Hollander who appears midway as a scarily sinister stranger and the brilliant John Malkovich in whose sprawling home Malorie and a ragged bunch of holocaust survivors take refuge.

At times the plot thickens to a congealed mass of murderous images meant only to shock. Also some of the plot is pure ham, like two women in the sprawling house of survival giving birth to babies at the same time.

But it seems outrageous that characters who lose their loved ones minutes ago (Bullock loses sister Sarah Paulson a second time after “Oceans 8”). Also that all love-shove thing happening between Malorie and a gentle African-American Tom (Trevante Rhodes) was a bit too much of inclusiveness at a time when the world seems to be ending.

When the narrative is not busy being a cool student of the ghoul school, it succeeds in making us invest in the characters’ fear and anxiety as they are plundered by forces they cannot control. Happily the narration does not suffer from a lack of manoeuvring control.

Director Biers never loses sight of the plot’s denouement as Malorie and her two children row to intended safety blindfolded.

I was delighted to see Parminder Nagra, Gurinder Chadha’s football-playing heroine in “Bend It Like Beckham” cast as gynecologist. And wow, Parminder even returns for a second scene at the end. Two scenes for an Indian actor. We Indians are really making inroads into the Western cinema. Slow clap.

“Bird Box” is beautifully shot, and shows no sign of cost cutting for its shrunken screen format. And that is not necessarily a reason to rejoice. In both Netflix’s “Roma” and now “Bird Box”, I felt a big screen experience had been diminished by an economical compromise. But then we can’t really crib about the size, even it matters.



People still get moved by Anuradha Paudwal’s performances, says son Aditya




New Delhi, Jan 22 : It has been a while since singer Anuradha Paudwal lent her voice to Bollywood films. But her son Aditya Paudwal, a music arranger and producer, says the singer, who now focuses more on devotional music, is still able to move people through her performances.

Anuradha has given many hit Bollywood songs like “Dil hai ke manta nahin”, “Jaane jigar jaaneman” and “Mujhe neend na aaye”.

Asked if he misses her singing Bollywood songs, Aditya told IANS in an email interview: “She has made a mark in devotional music. People still get moved by her performances. I have seen people’s lives changing after listening to her devotional ‘aartis’ and ‘mantras’.

“I would like to come up with a composition for my mother,” he added.

Meanwhile, Aditya is currently associated with “Thackeray”. He is the song arranger and producer of “Saheb tu” from the film which is based on the life of Shiv Sena founder, the late Bal Thackeray.

“When I was working with (composers) Rohan-Rohan on a Marathi film’s score, they had mentioned to me about this song which they wanted on a epic scale with symphonic kind of an arrangement. This song basically shows the journey of Balasaheb Thackeray,” he said.

“This is the first time that a 72-piece orchestra has recorded in one go in a studio,” he added.

On why the song has an European feel, Aditya shared: “The film is set in the 1950s to the 1960s.”

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Madhavan’s painfully long transformation for ‘Rocketry…’




Mumbai, Jan 22 : Actor R. Madhavan says getting the look of scientist and aerospace engineer S. Nambi Narayanan for “Rocketry – The Nambi Effect” was a “painfully long” process.

“The process took painfully long…about 2 days of sitting on a chair for 14 hours at a stretch,” Madhavan said in a statement.

“Initially it looked easy but later I realised how tough it was on the body,” he added.

The actor says getting the look right is “definitely half the battle won”.

“But the other half was really really tough because the age group I’m playing is around 70-75. Mr. Nambi is a very good-looking man and he has got his own charm and charisma so it took me around two-and-a-half years to actually imbibe him and learn how to walk like him.It wasn’t easy and it’s probably one of the toughest looks and characters I’ve had to pull off”.

The film is based on the life of the scientist. As a senior official at the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Narayanan was in-charge of the cryogenics division. In 1994, he was charged with espionage and arrested. The charges against him were dismissed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in 1996 and the Supreme Court declared him not guilty in 1998.

Madhavan has got the look right, and the actor says the biggest encouragement came from Narayanan himself.

“Nambi sir couldn’t stop laughing and getting amused by my look. There are so many pictures on the set that it looks almost eeriely how similar we both look.”

The film is slated for a release later this year.

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Entertainment industry is run by a glamorous mafia: Pahlaj Nihalani

Dropping another bomb, Nihalani says he suspects the hands of some big guns in sabotaging “Rangeela Raja”.



Pahlaj Nihalani

Mumbai, Jan 22 :Govinda, “Rangeela Raja”, Pahlaj Nihalani-backed comeback vehicle for Govinda, did not open well. Nihalani says it is because his film did not get the theatres required as the entertainment industry is run by a “glamorous mafia”.

“I am being targeted for my blunt views on the workings of censor board, and because of me, my leading man Govinda is being targeted. If you ask me, Govinda and I have the maximum number of enemies in the film industry,” Nihalani said.

Lamenting the lack of theatres for “Rangeela Raja”, Nihalani says he was refused a release in places like Bihar and Jharkhand.

“These are traditional strongholds of Govinda. And not a single theatre in Patna or Ranchi agreed to play ‘Rangeela Raja’. Why? Because my film is bad? Are only quality films released in theatres? And who decides that my film is substandard? A handful of critics for whom I did not have a press show, so they are upset with me and they are taking it out on my film,” he said.

Dropping another bomb, Nihalani says he suspects the hands of some big guns in sabotaging “Rangeela Raja”.

“I know who they are. I know the people who want to finish off Govinda and me. The entertainment industry is run by a glamorous mafia. They all sit, eat, sleep and make movies together. Solo producers like me with no corporate backing are being pushed out of the film industry in the name of corporotization,” he said.

But Nihalani says he isn’t going away anywhere.

“I belong to this industry as much as those who are currently monopolising the A-list stars. I will make another film with Govinda and prove he too is an A-list star.”

Nihalani says he has always believed in introducing new talent and will continue to do so.

“I introduced Govinda and Chunky Pandey. In ‘Rangeela Raja’ I’ve introduced Mishika Chourasia. I am confident she has a very bright future. Unless the industry will punish her for being Pahlaj Nihalani’s protege.”

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