My mini Indian movie festival

We purchased some vouchers from our local cinema and of course had only 5 days left to use them up, so we spent a bit of time at Burwood (even though we had 3 months to use them!).  The first movie I saw was Agent Vinod with Saif Ali Khan. I generally can’t stand spy movies, so was hoping a Bollywood take on it would make the genre more enjoyable. But really it’s just another spy movie. I do however like Saif Ali Khan,  he just seems to enjoy every role he plays and has a sincerity lacking in many actors. The plot is quite involved, so I won’t bother explaining it, but involves a variety of colourful characters in equally as colourful locations. There’s lots of action, twists and excessive amounts of shooting, and a pretty good soundtrack, excellent production and effects, and the gorgeous Maryam Zakaria adds some style to the movie.  An enjoyable movie even for a spy thriller. 75/100

Next was the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Beautifully filmed around Jaipur and Udaipur, it had me longing to be on the next flight back to Rajasthan. The trailers made this look like a comedy, but it is much deeper than that, with well drawn characters, and tackling lots of issues about age, culture and place. A great text for HSC students doing that theme of “Belonging” too! Lots of great performances, especially from my favourite, Bill Nighy. Couldn’t help thinking though that a bit more work could have made it a film classic. 77/100

The final movie (I also saw the incredible Indonesian martial arts film, The Raid but am too traumatised to write about it!) and the best was Kahaani. A film from Bengali director Sujoy Ghosh, this thriller has an amazing twist at the end that we didn’t expect at all, and one that should be kept a secret so I won’t spoil it. Terrific acting from Vidya Balan as a woman searching for her missing husband in Kolkata. The city itself almost deserves star billing too. But a special mention must go to Saswata Chatterjee for his totally weird performance as the hitman, Bob. Apparently he already has a cult following in India (as does the Monalisa hotel where Vidya stays in the film!). One of the weirdest Indian film characters ever. Anyway, this is great movie and it’s a crime that it never got reviewed in the Australian press that continues to ignore Indian cinema. Maybe Bollywood should release films in Australia in Italian or French so they get reviewed!  A must see. 92/100


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