Movie Reviews: Agent Vinod, Kahaani, Midnight in Paris
No kahaani in Agent Vinod, but Midnight in Paris weaves a magical story.
Whether you were planning to visit the theatre or rent a DVD, we thought we’d give you our reviews of recently released Kahaani, Agent Vinod and Oscar winner Midnight in Paris (which you can easily find at your local DVD-wala).
We’ll start with the bad.
After directing acclaimed movies like Johnny Gaddaar and Ek Hasina Thi, wonder what was in director Sriram Raghavan’s mind – to direct a slick action thriller or a spoof. The inspiration in either case was the Hollywood series of James Bond. Unfortunately, Agent Vinod is neither slick nor funny. The movie gets off to a highly unrealistic start, what with mud walls collapsing, fully made-up damsels in distress emerging from sacks, and a chase through the desert where the agent actually manages to run while holding onto and driving a car at the same time, and shooting the villains. It doesn’t get any better, as he wanders from one picturesque locale to the next, in search of the meaning of a number, which once discovered somewhere in the middle of the movie, leaves no suspense of where the film is going. Kareena Kapoor as the lead character does not have much to contribute apart from trying to convince the agent or whichever goon she is hanging out with that she is actually on their side or distracting the audience with an item number.
Overall, the plot was too boring to hold your attention and it was a difficult film to see to the end. The characters are more like caricatures and the action sequences are repetitive. The movie has some funny moments, but that feels more like Saif goofing around on the sets than actually intelligent humour. This is one Vinod you can skip making the acquaintance of.
Out of nowhere and with very little promotion comes Kahaani, so refreshing that we realize we have forgotten what it is like to be held in suspense and actually watch a movie with a climax worthy of being watched. The audience has loved it so much that no spoilers have ruined the movie-watchers’ experience. An excellent story, a well thought-out plot and excellent performances will keep you riveted and glued to your seats. The story revolves around a woman by the name of Vidya Bagchi (played by Vidya Balan), who arrives in Kolkata in search of her missing husband (Arnab). A helpful cop by the name of Satyuki Sinha helps her in her quest.
Based in Kolkata, the cinematography does justice to this beautiful city so full of character. The background score matches the moods and emotions of the protagonist and the situations. Every single detail is taken care of, from the chai-wallahs to the trams, the old cafes, rickshaws, narrow streets and offices in old Kolkata. Even the symbolism of Durga Puja is depicted in a non-cliched way. In terms of performances, Vidya Balan, once again, blows your mind with her natural flair and confidence as an actor. Parambrata Chatterjee, who plays the role of her cop-friend also does a great job. We hope to see more of him. Our advice is you catch a show of Kahaani before you find out that… we’re not saying anything!
We will not question where Woody Allen gets his ideas from, but the magic he weaves definitely takes adults back into their childhood (I’m thinking Enid Blyton’s Magic Faraway Tree or Wells’ The Time Machine). If you had watched the Meg Ryan-Hugh Jackman starrer, Kate & Leopold, and enjoyed it, this movie is for you. Except the lead character, Gil goes back into the past (as opposed to Hugh Jackman going into the future in Kate & Leopold), where he meets all those he is nostalgic for – the great writers, artists and poets of what he defines as the Golden Age.
At the stroke of midnight, a mysterious carriage takes Gil to the land of Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Salvador Dali and many others. As you travel back and forth in time with Gil, you wine and dine and fall in love with characters from the past and the present fades. You are only jolted back to reality when Gil has to decide where he really wants to be, whether it is in the magic of the past or in the excitement of the future.
We recommend you pick up the DVD for a lazy Sunday, ride back to the past for a cup of coffee and a nice chat with Hemingway, and start off fresh on Monday!