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Mississippi Masala ( 1991 )



During the time of the British empire , many Indians from India were brought to Uganda in Africa as indentured labourers . Gradually they were freed and stayed on in Uganda . After Uganda got it's freedom they began to believe that they were Ugandans more than Indians . However they retained their original ( mostly hindu ) religion and Indian culture .

But they were mostly originated from the mercantile community of the Indian state of Gujarat and were very industrious . Their prosperity grew more than common Ugandans and this caused resentment among native Ugandans towards them . Taking advantage of this resentment , Idi Amin who became dictator of Uganda ordered all of them out of the country in 1972 . They were divided and some of them went back to India , some to Britain , and some of them were taken by USA .

This movie shows the travails of a family that lived in Uganda until forced by Idi Amin to leave , and were later settled in Mississippi in USA . The head of the family is Jay ( Roshan Seth ) , who is deeply attached to his roots in Uganda . Even when in USA he pines for going back , and writes letters to the Ugandan government to get back his property and citizenship after Idi Amin has fallen from power . He also is affected by the fact that his best friend from Uganda said that Africa belongs to the Africans when it came to say goodbye to him ; this even though that African man gave his own money to release Jay from jail when Jay began to write against Idi Amin and was arrested for that .

Jay however feels that his African friend betrayed his friendship and has resentment towards the black community . He has now settled among Indians originated from Gujarat and they have become prosperous in Mississippi . Because of their relatively fairer skin and economic success this community takes on the airs and attitudes of white people in USA .

But Jay's daughter Mina has darker skin and this worries her mother Kinnu ( Sharmila Tagore ) , for she feels that Mina won't be able to get a good match among her community . But precisely due to her darker skin , Mina has no problems with black people and secretly begins to date a young black man called Demetrius ( Denzel Washington ) . She mingles with his family and charms them all .

And soon her love leads to bedroom sessions in motels . The love making is aesthetically pictured and I began to like Sarita Choudhury's ( the actress playing Mina ) lovely dark honey coloured exposed skin and her belly and and navel and her just barely exposed breasts---you are given a bare glimpse of those lovely orbs .

But some Gujarati Indian Americans have got wind of the affair and they rush into the room to beat Demetrius . As he fights back they call the police and he and Mina are both caught by police but later released . Demetrius gets his reputation besmirched and his business of cleaning carpets is in losses as no one wants to deal with a black man who was caught by the police beating rich people .

Demetrius tries to contact Mina but she has been effectively cut off from him by her parents . The parents have to confront the fact that their daughter is not an Indian but an American , and she tells them that she has her own mind like an American girl .

What brings the situation to boil is the letter that Jay receives from Uganda that his case will be heard in court , and he wants to take his family back to Uganda . But Mina revolts and chases the by now reluctant Demetrius and forces him to elope with her because she loves him and does not want to go to Uganda .

So Jay is forced to travel to Uganda alone and when lands he realises that the Uganda of old is gone ; he has no place in the new Uganda . His home is now America , and his family is like masala---a mixture of spices which have some Indian and some Ugandan and some American flavour but they all come to ultimately settle in Mississippi....Mississippi Masala .

Acting be everyone is decent and colours and photography are okay too . Music is good and turns emotional whenever Jay remembers his beloved Uganda .

Verdict---Decent .

Three stars out of five .



"Money won is twice as sweet as money earned."



The Least Of These : The Graham Staines Story

( March 2019 )



Review has spoilers

This is an English language movie made by Americans on a barbaric hate crime that took place in India in 1999---the burning alive of Australian missionary Graham Staines and his two sons by Hindu chauvinists who believed that Staines was paying money to poor tribal people to convert to Christianity . The central event of the movie is real of course , but the movie is a fictionalised account of that .

Stephen Baldwin plays the missionary and Shari Rigby plays his wife Gladys Staines . Sharman Joshi plays Manav Banerjee , an Indian reporter who comes to the Indian state of Orissa where Graham is working . Manav meets a newspaper editor ( played by Prakash Belawadi ) and promises to unearth evidence of Graham paying money to poor people to convert to Christianity , something that is a crime in India if done by money inducements ( though preaching and conversion to any religion is acceptable if done without fraudulent means ) . But the editor asks him to join Graham as a trojan horse by accepting Christianity in order to win Graham's trust , and then report and take photographic evidence of Graham paying money to poor people to convert .

However Manav directly confronts Graham , who denies using money to convert Indians . Manav gets to closely observe the work that Graham is doing curing leprosy patients in India and soon realises that Graham is doing a commendable job serving these patients who are pariahs among their own people after having contracted leprosy . Graham is the only person willing to touch them and give them any shred of dignity and hope . Of course Graham admits that he hopes that they will convert , but without money inducements it is not illegal at all . Manav tries to find out evidence that people are being converted by fraudulent means but finds no such thing .

During his research Manav comes to realise that a man named Mahendra ( Manoj Mishra ) is ready to take Staines' life and goes to warn Staines of this , but too late....Mahendra and his goons have already committed the deadly crime of burning alive Graham and his two small sons Timothy and Philip . Manav is affected by the dignity with which Gladys forgives her husband's killers , and by the fact that Graham's son had begun to believe himself to be an Indian and dreamt of becoming a cricket player not of Australia but of India like Sachin Tendulkar the Indian cricket star .

Also Manav comes to realise the motive of his newspaper editor in having a hatred towards Graham ; he is son of a leprosy patient that Graham allegedly converted to Christianity . But the patient says that he never converted to Christianity and opens Manav's eyes . Manav then goes to press in another newspaper telling the truth about Staines and the false allegations his earlier editor was making , thus resulting in the editor's expulsion from his job . Gladys goes on to continue her husband's work and she and her husband are duly recognised by the Indian government and given civilian honours .

The movie furthers India's image in the west as not only being poverty afflicted but also leprosy afflicted , and this forms a most unwelcome image . Of course , the movie gives a one sided picture as it has been produced by American Christians . Was Graham Staines really using money to convert the downtrodden ? God knows , but certainly burning him and his two young sons alive was unforgivable .

Acting and emotions wise , the movie scores and has a sentimental effect on the audience . Photography and colours are decent . Music wise , the movie again does very well and the music does a good job of heightening the emotional aspect of the movie .

Verdict---Good .




The Curse Of La Llorona



Review has spoilers

This movie is based on the Mexican folklore of a woman called La Llorona ( played by Marisol Ramirez ) . In the seventeenth century a Mexican woman was deeply in love with her husband , with whom she had two children . But upon learning about his affair with another woman she killed his and her own children in a fit of mad jealousy by drowning them in water in order to take away from her husband what was most precious to him . Now she stalks other people to take away their children from them in order to replace her own lost ones .

Cut to the Los Angeles of the 1970s . Linda Cardellini plays Anna who is a social worker . Anna goes to investigate the disappearance of two children who have been locked up by their mother as they are being stalked by La Llorona . The mother tries to attack Anna but Anna manages to free the children with the help of a police officer . The children are taken to a child services centre , but are attacked there by La Llorona at night and taken away . The mother of the children blames Anna for the disappearance of her children and in revenge prays to La Llorona to take away Anna's children and give her own back . So the spirit now begins to stalk Anna's children .

Anna is directed by a priest to take help of a priest turned shaman named Rafael Olvera ( Raymond Cruz ) who can do rituals to ward off the evil spirit trying to take away her children . As Rafael comes to her house , the woman who had prayed to La Llorona to take away Anna's children also unexpectedly arrives armed with a gun to create trouble . And the spirit of La Llorona is forever stalking the house to take away the children .

The movie does give some scares and jolts as La Llorona constantly makes attempts to take away the children by attacking at the most unexpected junctures . Silences are interspersed with screams of the victims and the spirit leaves red marks on the bodies of the young children even in unsuccessful attempts of taking them away . She tries to drown them in swimming pools and bathtubs just like she drowned her own children . So does Anna and the shaman manage to save the children , and what about the mother who prayed that the children be taken ? Watch the movie for the answers .

Colours , photography , acting . background music is okay but nothing special . But the movie will give some entertainment for aficionados of horror movies like me .

Verdict---Decent .




The black prince



This English Hindi bingual movie is on the life of Maharaja Duleep Singh , the last Maharaja of the Punjab region of India and son of Maharaja Ranjit Singh---who was called Lion of the Punjab .

After the death of Maharaja Ranjit Singh , within ten years the Sikh empire is overrun by the British and Duleep who is just a child is forcefully taken from the arms of his wailing mother Maharani Jindan ( Shabana Azmi ) and sent to Britain to be raised as a Christian . He is under care of Dr Login and his wife Lady Login . But when he grows up Duleep ( Satinder Sartaj ) inevitably wants to meet his real mother . Maharani Jindan is old when he arrives to India to meet her , but has lost none of her fire . She impresses upon Duleep his royal heritage and reminds him that he was born into the Sikh religion not Christianity . Blue turbaned Sikhs crowd to meet him and he agrees , but the watchful eyes of the british are all around to prevent any anti british activity .

The Maharani accompanies Duleep back to Britain on his request and is acerbic towards his wards---the Login couple . Even though Duleep's hair have already been cut , she asks him to follow his Sikh heritage . Duleep is converted to her thoughts and begins to live more and more like a Sikh . He meets Queen Victoria on many occasions and argues with her that her conquest of his kingdom was nothing but fraud . She is fond of him and calls him her black prince . Maharani Jindan says that he is a King not a prince on hearing this .

Later on the Maharani passes away , but not before she has instilled the fire of nationalism in Duleep . He gets married to a white Christian woman and they have children with Christian names . It was unclear to me as to why he married a western woman ; was it because he was forbidden to marry a Sikh by his british wards or he had grown up in the habits of a british gentleman and could not adjust with a Sikh ? Anyway he soon begins to wear a turban and follow Sikh customs much to the chagrin of his wife .

Soon Duleep invites fellow Sikh revolutionaries to Britain and dreams of getting back his kingdom by colluding with other Indian revolutionaries . An old european general of his father gifts a sword given by Maharaja Ranjit Singh himself back to Duleep to start the revolution against the british . Duleep forms a plan to go to Russia from France and invade Punjab from Afghanistan . He is told that Sikhs in british Indian army will revolt on his bidding . He abandons his crying wife and goes to France , where he has a relationship with another woman and children from her too ; totally he has nine children . He and his female companion take train to Russia where they are promised a meeting with the czar , but the czar refuses to meet .

Duleep has sent his men to India to collude with bengali revolutionaries , but the british infiltrate their ranks and all are caught and thrown in prison . Duleep has to return bankrupt to Britain after his attempt to go to India is stopped by the british by making the ship's captain arrest him , though he shows respect to Duleep's royal status by refusing to put him in fetters .

Duleep's last days are in sadness and put me in pathos . His son begs him to ask Queen Victoria to resume his privy purse which has been terminated due to his anti british activities . The proud Duleep refuses . Duleep is denied a Sikh cremation after death even though he wished that . He is buried according to Christian rituals . We are informed that the struggle to bring back his bones to be cremated according to Sikh rituals is on even today .

The movie has decent acting and grand settings . Photography is decent and colours are okay . Background music and songs in punjabi language are nice . But the struggle of Duleep Singh against the british has an air of futility about it as it happened in the late nineteenth century when the british grip over India was strongest . He died in 1893 and remarkably none of his nine children had heirs . The line of Maharaja Ranjit Singh died out .

Verdict---Okay .

Two and a half stars out of five .



Once Upon A Time In Hollywood



This one is to be liked only by those immersed in cinema. The whole movie seems somewhat pointless and the violence that we associate with Tarantino comes only at the end . Were the hippies taking revenge for the character played by Brad Pitt's visit to the ranch where they stayed six months before when he questioned the owner of the ranch about them or it was just a coincidence that they came barging in to kill some Hollywood people six months later ? I was entertained since I am immersed in cinema. But not sure lay public will enjoy the film because basically nothing exciting happens in parts of the film . Just life of Hollywood folks in late sixties. The action comes at the end and is pretty violent with an entire hippie woman getting burnt to cinder by flamethrower . And the Male characters then act cool as if it was a normal day out for them .

The two huge stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt enjoy real chemistry with each other in the film with the character played by Pitt playing chauffeur to Leonardo DiCaprio's character. Leonardo is a reel life tough guy but brad is the real life toughie ; beats up a character playing Bruce Lee in a scene smashing him in a car denting it....I mean he just smashes Bruce Lee , THE Bruce lee !! Wait till lee wakes up from his grave hearing this !!

But the film falls short of action I felt . More a tribute to Hollywood of the sixties with shootings of westerns and all , and the character played by Leonardo crying out over his spent career....he's a has been and gets drunk a little too much. Also is shown drug intake with the warning about drug intake being dangerous flashing on screens in my country India.

Margot Robbie plays Sharon Tate , a murder victim in real life . However she just prances about in miniskirts in this film and goes to watch her own film in theater to watch audience reaction to her scenes . But I thought the hippie girl who enticed the character played by Brad Pitt to the ranch was sexier and wore even more exposing clothes and moved her body more provocatively .




Crawl



Much of the movie takes place in the crawl space ( underground basement which has enough height only to crawl ) in a home in Florida , USA ; hence the name of the film . This takes place in a hurricane which has brought about massive rains that have flooded the crawl space . A father daughter duo are trapped in the crawl space with waters rising as it rains endlessly .

But the big horror element is that the hurricane and flooding has brought two powerful alligators into the crawl space , and the father daughter duo are in dire danger of becoming a meal for the hungry gators . Outside the house too the full area is teeming with alligators , as a group of looters who come to loot an abandoned ( due to the hurricane ) store discover as they become prey to the ravenous alligators . Similar is the fate of a couple of police officers who come to rescue the stranded duo ; they are eaten alive by the gators .

So it is left to the daughter Haley Keller ( Kaya Scodelario ) to rescue both herself and her father Dave Keller ( Barry Pepper ) from the water ever rising in the crawl space and the hurricane and the alligators hunting them . She is an expert swimmer trained by her father to never give up and has to mightily rely on those skills in order to survive . Finally when they have managed to extricate themselves out of the crawl space after losing a lot of blood , they find the area outside the house flooded with more gators . A little too many gators than what the audience can handle , don't you think ?

But the movie is genuinely terrifying , more scary than horror movies that contain ghosts . Because ghosts probably really don't exist but alligators do , and that's the difference . There were some moments when I wanted to walk out from the cinema hall out of sheer fright of an impending gator attack on an unsuspecting human . Had to hold my nerve to continue watching . It's dark and scary in the crawl space with the gators waiting for the humans to make one wrong move and be attacked in the rising waters .

The whole atmosphere outside the house is well created , rainy and stormy and clouded and totally flooded....floods that have brought the dreaded gators from their homes in the swamps . Also isolated because most of the nearby residents have left because of the impending hurricane . The gators looked more like dinosaurs from Jurassic Park to me , so large and frightening they were .

Photography is good but colours are darkish due to the clouds and rain and lack of light in the crawl space . Background music and acting is all decent . Movie cannot be called memorable but gives lot of on the spot scares and keeps you royally entertained if you like being scared .

Verdict---Good .




The bonfire of the vanities ( 1990 )



This film was adapted from Tom Wolfe's novel of the same name , but unlike the novel it was a box office flop and was panned by the critics . Reason---the film showed Tom Hanks' character in a different mold from the novel . The novel showed him to be a mean guy according to those who read it ( I haven't read it ) , but the movie tried to build up sympathy for the character in the audiences' mind . Also the movie was probably panned as it was incorrigibly politically incorrect . Black characters were shown either as toughies or cynically raising the race card for their own benefit .

Tom Hanks plays Sherman McCoy , who is a Wall street bond trader who is rich and lives the american dream . Even better actually . For along with living in a plush apartment with his wife and daughter and travelling in luxurious cars , he also has a sexy mistress played by Melanie Griffith . His wife knows about this and throws jealous taunts at him even when visiting his parents . But Sherman doesn't care . He considers himself as a 'master of the universe' , a term coined by Tom Wolfe .

But one day while driving along with his mistress he takes a wrong turn and lands up in the black dominated area of Bronx . The area is full of fire and violence almost like a war zone and mistress openly asks as to ''where are the white people ?'' . Their way is blocked by a car wheel lying on the road and as Sherman climbs down the car to remove it , he is confronted by two threatening black young men . Mistress takes the wheel and Sherman quickly jumps in , but as she reverses she knocks one black boy down . The couple escape but Sherman wants to go to the police . But mistress refuses fearing expose of their affair for she too is married to a rich old man . To make her refusal sweet she just removes her clothes and shows her luscious bikini body and entices Sherman into bed , something that she does twice in the film with aplomb and you watch mesmerized as Tom Hanks fondles Melanie Griffith's delicious breasts .

But an alcoholic journalist played with comic timing by Bruce Willis comes upon this hit and run case and takes this to the jewish district attorney who is facing flak for too many arrests of blacks for crime , and they decide that the white driver of the car has to be arrested to change the district attorney's image . They are joined by a black demagogic religious leader who organizes crowds demanding justice for the injured black teen who eventually dies . As the car's ownership is traced to Sherman , the case has become a political football and Sherman is sent straight to jail . Huge threatening crowds follow him everywhere after he gets bail and he is asked to vacate his own house due to the fear his neighbours feel due to the crowds surrounding their building . His mistress predictably refuses to acknowledge her responsibility for the hit and run case and his wife leaves him . A white man who considered himself to be Master of his universe has been brought down from his high horse by the teeming non whites whose increasing population he had treated with disdain . It is the bonfire of his vanities....

It is left to the remorse of the journalist played by Bruce Willis to deliver proof of the truth to Sherman in the form of a tape where the mistress has been recorded to admit that it she who was actually driving the car when the hit and run happened . And it is left to an honest black judge played by Morgan Freeman to deliver justice by admitting the tape as evidence in court . And also the judge silences the crowd in the court angry over the judgement by delivering a speech asking not to raise the ethnic card but instead be decent people .

The climax differs from the novel by not showing Sherman ruined by the case . It does not show him punished for his arrogance , for his cheating on his wife , for his meanness as shown in the novel . And the critics have never for given the film for that . Nor did the audiences at that time . But nearly thirty years later , we who have not read the novel can surely be forgiven for not comparing the film to the novel and liking the film . For it has some dialogues delivered with knacky humour and some really complicated situations .

Acting is good by everyone and colours and background music are decent too . So is photography . Era is of the eighties , so no mobile phones are there and computers are only in offices . Life was simple then.... All the criticism the film received had a rebound effect on me as it was better than that and I liked the film more than I should have .

Verdict---Good .

Four stars out of five .



The mistress of spices ( 2005 )



I went to see this English movie for the dazzling beauty of Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai and was richly rewarded . And beauty lies in simplicity . Rather than wearing western clothes , Aishwarya wears unembroidered sarees and looks divine . The lightness of her eyes melts in the lightness of her hair and the fairness of her skin and I was mesmerized .

Ash ( that's what I call her when I meet her in my dreams in private ) plays Tilo , who is born in Kerala in India which is the heartland of India's spices . She has the ability to foresee things that are going to happen , and for this some bandits try to kidnap her after killing her parents . But she escapes and is washed off the shore of a spice plantation ruled by the first mother ( Zohra Sehgal ) . The first mother directs Tilo's unique abilities of foreseeing the future to use spices to help people gain their desires and ward off evil . Tilo becomes a 'mistress of spices' along with other such mistresses on the plantation .

After she turns into an adult , Tilo is sent to San Francisco bay area to run a store selling spices . She sells spices to people who come to get what they want through getting the right spices from her . But life for a mistress of spices is tough . The first mother has laid several rules for the mistresses . Tilo must not go out of the store , she must not touch her customers , and she must not use the power of the spices for gaining her personal ends . If she does this the spices will disobey her .

Tilo has got several loyal customers who come to her repeatedly to buy spices for their purposes , and solving their personal problems gives her enormous satisfaction as she can see through her special abilites as to what will happen to them when the spices are given to them . But what about her own personal life ? One day an American guy named Doug ( Dylan Mcdermott ) has a minor accident in front of her shop and she bandages his wound using her spices as medicine inside the bandage . As she does so , she feels an instant attraction for him .

Doug begins to come to the spice shop again and again and Tilo begins to lose control over herself as she feels drawn to him . She allows him to touch her , thus breaking the rule of the first mother . She loses her power over her spices and the spices she gives to her loyal customers have the opposite effect of bringing more trouble for them . But one day Doug's girlfriend vists the spice shop for improving her relationship with her boyfriend . Inspite of the jealousy she feels for the girlfriend , Tilo decides to give the right spice for improving the relationship thus indicating that she is giving up on Doug .

But Doug has grown attached to Tilo and he visits her again and confesses his deepest secret about the death of his native american mother to her , thus arousing her sympathy and love . And his girlfriend visits again , saying that Doug probably loves someone else anyway ( without knowing that it is Tilo herself ) and that she is breaking off with Doug . The way is cleared for Tilo to be with Doug , except for the big fact that she will have to lose all power over her beloved spices for breaking the rule of the first mother disallowing touch with customers . For Tilo wants to make deep passionate love with Doug .

Torn between her love for Doug and her responsibility as mistress of spices , Tilo decides to spend one night soaked in passion with Doug and then burn herself to death by setting her spices on fire . However her willingness for sacrifice changes the rules and the first mother comes to her in a vision allowing her power to continue over the spices . But only after Tilo has really tried to burn herself to death along with her spices.

Before this comes the scene of Tilo preparing to entice Doug for making love , and this is the only time in the movie Ash has tried to look attractive . Red saree with smooth open back and red lipstick with her hair opened in all their glory make Ash look simply mouthwatering . And then she opens her saree as Doug starts to kiss her and her bare navel with belly chain give you the hots .

The movie evokes the magic of the mystical orient ; the spices and the woman who can help people by giving them mixtures of spices to ingest as she has the power to look into the future---all this is pure fantasy involving the exotic image of my land India . And it works upto a certain extent . The movie got bad reviews by western press as they could not understand the Indian obsession with spices but Indians did like the film . My movie watching experience was heightened by the presence of the stunning Aishwarya Rai .

Colours wise the movie scores as the spices come in a variety of colours . Photography is good too , and acting is decent by all . Background music and songs are okay .

Verdict---Decent .

Three stars out of five .



Doctor Sleep



This film is a sequel to 'The shining' movie , which was based on Stephen King's novel .

Dan ( Ewan Mc Gregor ) has had a traumatic childhood and arrives at New Hampshire to escape from it and the alcoholism stemming from it . He has a special psychic power called the 'shine' and a local doctor realises this and makes him an orderly in his hospital . He is able to ease the death of people who are going to die , their impending death being conveyed to him by a cat going and sitting on their bed . A patient calls him Dr sleep because of his ability to make dying people look upon their death as some kind of sleep .

He is however contacted by a young girl called Abra ( Kyliegh Curran ) who has a more luminous shine , and this attracts the attention of psychic vampires who feed off this kind of shine , and more importantly are starving for it . They are led by a beautiful vampire called Rose the Hat ( Rebecca Ferguson ) . They have already killed a young boy with this shine to feed off his shine and also intend to inhale the shine of Abra .

So Dan and Abra combine to kill the vampires one by one , and the final showdown with Rose occurs in the same place that holds many traumatic memories for Dan . Only one of the three people involved will survive the showdown .

The movie takes us in the world of people with semi magical powers and makes it believable for us . The movie is two and a half hours long and it does manage to hold our interest for a considerable time . Towards the end it begins to feel over stretched and too long , until a final twist manages to get our attention back .

There is considerable fighting in the movie plus some chills of horror and my opinion oscillated between calling it thriller or horror . Photography is first class and so are the colours and acting . Background music is good and it stops and you can hear only beats when something is going to happen . Only thing is that the movie drags too long .

Verdict---Decent .




Midway



The movie takes us on a considerable sweep of history in the second world war . It begins before the Japanese air attack on Pearl harbour , when Japanese admiral Yamamoto ( Jun Kunimura ) warns the Americans that if they threaten their oil supplies then Japan will have to go to war . The war begins for America as Pearl harbour in Hawai gets bombarded by Japan's carrier based air fleet . The visuals of the attack are well picturised with bombs falling and warships going up in yellow flames and anti aircraft fire coming rapidly at the attacking aircraft like tracer bullets .

In revenge America bombs the Japanese capital Tokyo by bombers led by Lt colonel Doolittle flying from aircraft carriers and landing in Japanese controlled China as they don't have the range to come back . At the end of the movie we are informed that the Japanese killed 250000 Chinese in revenge for helping the bomber crew escape . There is a debate going in favour of the army in Japan but the Japanese are so stung by the raid that they plan a naval invasion of Midway islands in the pacific .

As the Japanese fleet of four aircraft carriers closes on to Midway , the Americans have used intercepts of Japanese signals to find out their target . They also correctly find out location of their fleet , while the Japanese are unaware of this fact . This is the only advantage lying with the Americans , whose carrier borne fighter planes are outclassed in technology and numbers by the Japanese fighter planes . Also the Americans have only two aircraft carriers fully fit and the third is pressganged into service even though she ( ships are referred to as 'she' many times by sailors ) has a huge hole in her flight deck , caused by a Japanese bomb in the battle of the Coral sea .

As the two sides press their advantages , it's the Americans who surprise the Japanese fleet by dive bombing them by dive bombers . The whole act of dive bombing has been repeatedly picturised beautifully in the film . The fighter plane begins it's steep dive on it's target from a great height . As it begins to close in , it is challenged by swathes of anti aircraft fire that must be terrifying for anyone in the cockpit . Running this gauntlet , the fighter plane dives to the height at which the bomb has to be released . After it releases the bomb , the plane has the unenviable task of turning up again from it's dive while the warship explodes in flames and acrid smoke which threatens even the plane flying just above it .

The Japanese have their own martial traditions , and their commanding officers go down with their ships refusing to get rescued because the responsibility of failure lies on them and honour is a valued thing in the orient . As four Japanese carriers are bombed to oblivion and sunk , finally the advantage shifts to the Americans in the Pacific war .

The movie is action packed and will be enjoyed by aficionados of war movies . It also takes us into the war rooms where war strategies are planned between the rival forces . Photography is great and the warships are shown sailing in full glory in the open sea silhouetted against the sun . Music is enthralling towards the end and acting by everyone is okay.

Verdict---Good.




Hotel Mumbai




This Australian film shows the horrifying ordeal of guests and staff trapped within Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai , when terrorists from Pakistan attacked Mumbai in 2008 . It is a detailed picturization of the slaughter of innocent people in the hotel , showing the utter brutality of the terrorists and their handlers sitting in Pakistan with whom they are in contact by radio . The terrorists and their handlers speak the Punjabi language , so they have been recruited from the province of Punjab in Pakistan . Their language is full of profanities , as is expected from such scum.

Yes , scum they are . Expendable to their masters , they have been brainwashed with hatred for non muslims and turned into killing machines armed with Kalashnikovs which they fire without regard for human life from the beginning at CST railway station to the Taj. They have been ordered to blow the brains out of westerners after making them stand in front of windows so that the assembled public and press below can see with terror . Amazingly , one of them shows the decency to not touch a killed woman inappropriately even though his handler from Pakistan is screaming on radio that she is a non muslim and therefore can be touched .

They come from a small boat and catch taxis to reach CST and then the Taj. The movie shows some of the staff in the Taj sacrificing their own lives to protect innocent gusts because of the philosophy of the Taj hotel that 'guest is God' . The two main members of the staff trying to protect guests are chef Oberoi ( Anupam Kher ) and a sikh employee of the Taj called Arjun ( Dev Patel ) . Arjun explains to a guest who suspects him to be a terrorist due to his turban as to the importance of turban to a sikh but is later forced to remove it to tie a guest's wound , such are the travesties of fate . The two shift many guests to the exclusive club called chambers lounge , which is hidden . But eventually the terrorists reach there too , and mayhem ensues even as many guests do manage to flee the gunfire.

The movie shows one or two personal stories , like that of a interreligious western couple ( wife muslim and husband Christian ) who have arrived with their baby's nanny and are in the restaurant when terror strikes . It shows their desperate attempt to unite with their baby and nanny who are in their room . In the end the husband (played by Armie Hammer) is shot dead after being held as hostage in a room with a wounded terrorist . The woman ( played by Nazanin Boniadi ) is spared because she begins reciting the verse from the quran . A Russian former special operative named Vasili ( Jason Issacs ) who has fought in Afghanistan is shot dead too , and the movie shows his ordeal in the Taj before being shot dead .

A most brutal scene is that of receptionists at the Taj being forced at gunpoint to ask guests to open their doors by phoning them , and the guests being shot dead on door opening by terrorists. When the receptionists refuse to phone any more , their brains are blown out . At this point interval of the movie strikes .

Post interval , the carnage becomes more gruesome. The movie shows how ill prepared the Mumbai police were and only a handful of them show the courage to enter the Taj , led by a police officer (played by Nagesh Bhosale) . But their old rifles and revolvers are no match to the terrorists' firepower and most of them are shot. Help from Delhi is still hours away . The terrorists begin to destroy the Taj by lobbying grenades everywhere . They have never seen such luxury in their lives . Never seen a commode in a washroom .

Finally commandos arrive to flush them out . One of the terrorists phones his father in Pakistan one last time only to realise that the promised money has not reached his father . But that does not stop his killing spree and he and others continue to pour out bullets from their seemingly inexhaustible supply of ammunition . The movie filled me with rage at the then government's inability to retaliate and made me a convinced supporter of right wing parties who promise retaliation to such acts .

Acting wise colours wise photography wise the movie is most decent . Background music is decent too . The violence is appalling and I was shocked by it even though I had seen the entire TV coverage at that time . The role of TV in showing everything live and thus alerting the handlers and terrorists to everything is appalling too .

Verdict---It's a Must see .




I loved Hotel Mumbai as well. Trying to find a way to catch Hotel Rwanda to compare since I've never seen it.