Mohan's Measures:

✳ ✳ ✳ ✳ ✳ Wow!
✳ ✳ ✳ ✳ Your money's worth
✳ ✳ ✳ Sure, why not?
✳ ✳ A one-time watch
Go for the popcorn

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Ittefaq - woman in the windshield

Ittefaq (Coincidence)
Hindi, 2017

Directed by Abhay Chopra

Akshaye Khanna as Dev Verma
Sidharth Malhotra as Vikram Sethi
Sonakshi Sinha as Maya Sinha
Pavail Gulati as Chirag
Samir Sharma as Shekhar Sharma

Mohan's Measure ✴ ✴ ✴

There is a great deal more than just the Vindhyas which separates North from South.  There is the question of morality, basic human integrity and how it is seen.

Ittefaq is about the Mumbai of today, a materialistic madhouse where marriage is just as much about convenience as the gods. Here the police catch a man accused of just murdering his spouse. Ironically, he is in the apartment of a frightened woman who may have just murdered hers.

Mr. Khanna gives a profound performance in this macabre story.  He plays Inspector Verma as the classic French Noir Detective. Careworn to being callous, he couldn't care less for the spoiled nouveau riche suspects. So it surprises us that he would befriend, almost empathize with, the accused, and that the accused would sympathize with him. But, life, with all its emotions, is never quite what it seems.

Mrs. Sinha isn't either. She paints herself as the devout wife. Vikram sees her as a sleaze. At times, Sonakshi doesn't quite know how to portray her, and it shows.

Dark though it is, Ittefaq is not quite a noir as we want it to be. For that we need a Poetic Justice, a Higher Justice, and Bollywood is out of touch with it.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Krishnarjuna Yudham - Freudian Drips

Krishnarjuna Yudham
(Krishna and Arjuna's War)

Director: Merlapaka Gandhi

Nani as Krishna and Arjuna
Anupama Parameswaran as Subbulakshmi
Rukshar Mir as Rita

Mohan's Measure - don't press your luck

Only Tollywood could take the cruel subject of human trafficking and make it the topic of a cheesy action comedy.

Cheesy best describes Nani in yet another dual role; one a metal star who sings with a Vijayawada accent, the other a village bumpkin from Chittoor whose only Tamil word is machaan.

What would Sigmund Freud say about this? What the heck does he have to do with this movie?! Oh, yeah, Bob Marley was previously engaged.

Adhe Kangal - strange sightings

Adhe Kangal
(The Same Eyes)

2017, Tamil

Director: Rohin Venkatesan

Kalaiyarasan as Varun Murali
Janani Iyer as Sadhana
Sshivada as Vasundhra

Bala Saravanan as Panju

Mohan's Measure ✳ ✳ ✳

We have seen a lot of mysteries emerging out of Tamil Nadu, but most of late have fallen into the area of pulp noir.  Adhe Kangal finally breaks this trend, offering a straightforward, no-nonsense, nose to the grindstone mystery with a clearly defined ending.

The whole story plays out like a made for TV film, beginning with a blind man falling in love with a charitable young woman.  He manages to get his sight back, but in the meantime, she vanishes.

Where she is and who she is are the backdrop of the interesting and lightly comical adventure ahead for Mr. Varun.   Bala Saravanan does an impressive job as a down-and-out cop looking for that big break, the one big case which will bring him into the limelight. A murder brings him to Varun and the rest is a detective story.  Several twists and turns follow the clues, until that one moment.

That this one moment is over the top is to be expected, but it comes after a couple of hours of an engaging story which the family can watch.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Sameer - like bees to honey

2017, Hindi

Director: Dakxin Bajrange Chhara

Mohammed Zeeshan Ayub as Sameer
Subrat Datta as Desai
Anjali Patil as Alia
Chinmay Mandlekar as Shahid
Alek Gagdekar as Manto
Shubham Bajrange as Rocket

Mohan's Measure ✳️ ✳️ ✳️ ✳️ 

In a telling moment, a little boy accidentally throws a stone over a roof, and a riot nearly results.

There is something in the human instinct that makes us form in-groups and out-groups, turn friends into enemies, and judge without reason. We make up any excuse, race, religion, the color of skin, the results are the same - bloodshed.

Sameer dares to ask what would happen if someone were to prey off this primal emotion. The controversial movie argues how, like bees to honey, the masses would feed off such hatred. And in playing with their minds in this way, even the smallest pawns would stand to gain power.

Convincingly acted, albeit with displays of hyperbole, Sameer is an intelligent examination of the utter stupidity of the human condition.

 Any resemblance to current day events are coincidental. Or they are not.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Adam Joan - Lochs and Bagels

Adam Joan
Malayalam, 2017

Director: Jinu V Abraham

Prithviraj Sukumaran as Adam Joan Pothen
Bhavana as Shweta Pothen
Mishti as Amy Adam Joan
Narain as Cyriac
Rahul Madhav as Allan Pothen
Lena as Daisy

Mohan's Measure ✳️

Throughout history, people from around the world have found home in India, its teeming populations home to just about every religious and not so religious tradition on earth.  But, if one remains painfully misunderstood, it is Judaism.

Adam Joan Pothen carefully admits his wife was Jewish to his friend. One wonders what would have happened had the news gotten out; would India finally know what a good delicatessen is? And how did Mr. Pothen meet this young lady? In a church choir...uh...what?

These are just some examples of the inexcusably poor storytelling which makes this otherwise well-acted movie... totally worthless.

How much weight do we give to the premise that  "certain" families in Kerala took to practices which went against the Church?  Certain families?  Try 80 percent of the State's non-Catholic peoples.  Or that a little girl's ancestry can be known to virtually none but a group of underground Satanists.  How do they know? Did she come up and ask if they knew a place that served good knish!?  

All we know is that a farmer from a village outside Cochin can come up with the gadgets, the skills, and the cars to be a Bond-like ghostbuster who is ought to save the daughter he has never seen from serving as a human sacrifice to the god of darkness. All this in Scotland of all places!  

For the next time, bad guys, try Presbyterian.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Rangasthalam - hear we are


2018, Telugu

Directed by Sukumar

Ram Charan as Chitti Babu
Samantha as Rama Lakshmi
Jagapathi Babu as the President
Aadhi Pinnisetty as Kumar Babu
Anusuya Bharadwaj as Rangamma

Mohan's Measure ✳️ ✳️ ✳️

The savage in man is never quite eradicated. - Henry David Thoreau

Samantha. Need we say more to describe the only young woman in Tollywood who can be a sex symbol and still remain adorable.  The fact that she can with little makeup makes her perfect for the heroine in Rangasthalam.

Keeping pace with her, Mr. Ram Charan holds his own in playing the archetype 80s anti-hero reminiscent of his father. Chitti Babu is a hard of hearing, drunken village bumpkin who finds meaning only in his "Lachimi" and in his brother, the only one man enough to stand up against the nefarious President of the little village.  

It is the scenery of this village which serves as the stage for the clothing and music of the 80s, a time when Socialism kept India largely a nation of villages. 

It is in this village atmosphere, where oil lamps and transistor radios are the only connections with anything civilized, that law and order play second to the sheer brutality and survivalism of patriarchal honor.

Playing out like an old Western, Rangasthalam is more about killing than living, while still pandering to an audience of expatriates who perhaps find nostalgic connection to the overarching eroticism of it all. For it is in the swamps, the savage natural elements, as Robert Bly says, that man can discover his inner instincts, his inner passions, and the codes which drive him.  Sadly, here too, man discovers his sadistic taste for blood.

A brutal reboot of 80s movies, Rangasthalam is as entertaining as it is disillusioning.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Needi Naadi Oke Katha - Ayn Rand so far away

Needi Naadi Oke Katha
(You and I have the same story)

Telugu, 2018

Directed by Venu Udugulu

Sree Vishnu as Sagar
Satna Titus as Dhaarmika
Posani Murali Sekhar as Ram V Sekhar
Devi Prasad as Sagar's father
Roopini Lakshmi as Sagar's mother
Nara Rohith as "who cares?!"

Mohan's Measure "you've got to be kidding!"

I should be ashamed for his having my father's name. But, Sagar has enough of being shamed by his own dad. It is blamed on lack of understanding on daddy's part, caused by too much id. It is expressed in the face of every member of the audience who walked out scratching their head.

NNOK is probably the worst example of existential crisis ever displayed on the silver screen. We are supposed to find it in our hearts to support a guy who doesn't have a clue, what to speak of a life, just as much as his MRS- degree girlfriend who drops out of college so that she can stand by her man. They both need serious help.

It is offered by Posani in a way that has become trite, Raja. So trite, it isn't funny anymore.

Trust me, Raja; do not see this movie if you know what's good for you.