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Hacksaw Ridge Is The Best Anti-War Film Ever

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Hacksaw Ridge

Starring: Andrew Garfield, Vince Vaughn

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Directed by: Mel Gibson

Rating: *****(5 Stars)

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Once in a while there comes a film that transcends  its cinematic obligations  to become a comment  on the quality of  human existence.  Hacksaw Ridge is one such rarity. It communicates the power to change human perceptions on living,to change  the way we look at human lives.

This  is the true-life story of  an incredibly brave and inspiring young American soldier  Desmond Doss who refused to  pick up a gun during the World War 2. No matter how much he was cajoled, bullied, threatened, heckled and taunted for what was initially seen as  cowardice,Desmond wouldn’t  shoot an enemy during battle.It was against his creed and religion to shoot another human being.

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No violence. No gun.As simple as that.

Director Mel Gibson shoots this amazing inspirational tale with minimalist flourish and drama. Desmond Doss could easily have ended up looking like a  sanctimonious fool.In the capable strong yet sensitive  hands  of  Gibson and the film’s writers Doss becomes a sublime symbol of ahimsa , modern-day Gandhi  who can stand up for what he feels to be right without the fear of  being shamed .

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Early scenes showing Doss’s ragging in the army camp are done with a mix of wistful malice and regretful  humour regarding the false sense of machismo associated with guns.The  soldierly life is visualized with a keen sense of heroic pride. This soon dissolves into prolonged unbearably graphic sequences of men at war.

It is here that we see the sheer futility horror and barbarism on the battle ground played out at an octave of shrill protest without for a minute precluding our guilt  or distancing us from the violence. Gibson’s cinematographer Simon Duggan, a magician of mayhem, shoots the war scenes with agonizing intimacy , as though  the audiences’ rapidly receding sense of decency is fastened to the bayonets.Every bullet fired hits us where it hurts the most.

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As the bullets fly and Rupert Gregson-Williams’ mystifying apocalyptic music  surges forward  in waves of protest, the film acquires all the greatness of a David Lean war epic without the  mood of heroism that is attached to Lean’s cinema, or for that matter, in Mel Gibson’s Braveheart.

The soldiers’ suffering is  intense and relentless while the battle scenes last.They effectively create a stark contrast with the life of peace and non-violence that Doss embraces .

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I hear Mel Gibson was reluctant to direct this true-life saga of a young man who battled societal definitions of heroism to conquer the acrimony on the battleground. In hindsight Gibson seems the  only director who could denude soldierly valour of all romance and glory so effortlessly.

Of course casting Andrew Garfield(better known as Spiderman) is  a stroke  of providence and genius.  Garfield brings to Doss’ part both righteousness and heart .  He is angelic without being sugary, stubborn without seeming selfrighteous. It’s a miraculously innocent but intense performance shorn of vanity and flamboyance.

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The supporting cast specially Vince Vaugn as Doss’ superior in the army is first-rate.

Come to think of it, every player  bit or big, seems to instinctively know he or she is partaking of a  project far larger than the immediate on-camera moment. Hacksaw Ridge is a film whose statement on non-violence will be quoted in textbooks and on talk-shows years from now when nukes have probably destroyed half of mankind.

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For every war-monger who wants to battle it out in India and Pakistan a sincere request.Go watch this film.And stay till the end credits when we meet the real Desmond Doss who tells us show he washed the muck and blood off a wounded fellow-soldier’s blinded eyes.

“The smile on his face when he could see was all the gratitude I  needed,” says Doss.

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Thank you for reminding us of that smile of appreciation when something miraculous is given. Something  like this film.

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Why On  Earth Is Sushmita Sen Smoking A Cigar In Aarya’s First  Look?

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Aarya

Season 3  of Aarya is being shot as  you read this, and naturally Sushmita Sen is  super-kicked about it, so kicked that she has put  out a  video where she is seen  in the  best Lady Boss version of herself.

Alarmingly, she is seen puffing away at a  cigar, to  complete her Badass Lady Boss image.

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 There was a  time when women smoking  cigarettes  in Hindi cinema signaled vampishness. If a female actor was  shown smoking it meant she had evil designs  over the  hero, and life in general.

 Sushmita being Sushmita, a cigarette won’t do. A  cigar it is, to go with her formidable image. The last Bollywood actor I saw smoking a cigar  on screen was Premnath in the 1970s. Back then so  many  people didn’t die of cancer  by smoking.

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 These are  different far more dangerous  and deadly times.

Sushmita is an iconic  actor.She  needs to be more careful about the image  she projects . Smoking  a  cigar doesn’t  enhance a woman’s(or a  man’s) muscle power. Nor does it make her look cool.

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About shooting for the third season of Aarya  Sushmita says, “Aarya is synonymous with my name.  I have lived as Aarya for two whole seasons and the love received by the audiences has only encouraged me to do more. Walking on the sets of Aarya Season 3 makes me feel at home and gives me  a sense of empowerment. I’m grateful to the entire team at Disney+ Hotstar, Ram Madhvani Films and Endemol Shine India for the vision of creating Aarya and taking it to newer heights with every season.”

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Shah Rukh, Deepika, John Will Meet The Media  On Monday At 4 pm(But There’s  A Catch)

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Pathaan

Pathaan has effectually discredited the  efficacy  of media interactions to promote  a  film. The  film’s lead actors Shah Rukh  Khan, Deepika Padukone  and John Abraham did not conduct any  press or portal interviews  to  promote the  film.

And  yet Pathaan  is  a blockbuster.

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 This  weekend  the Pathaan producer Aditya  Chopra  of  Yash Raj Films  took a call on behalf  of  the Pathaan team  to do one media  meet at the Taj Land’s End in Mumbai  on Monday January 30 at 4 pm.

The  three principal actors  and  director Siddharth Malhotra  will address  the  media.

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 But  here’s the catch: the media will not be allowed to ask any questions. There will be no  Q& A s or  one-on-one  interactions.This  basically means that the  Pathaan  team will  have an opportunity to  say what it wants  to the media. But the  media will have no say.

Make what  you will of this  one-way traffic.

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A  source close  to Yash Raj informs  me that this is  the   pattern  regarding the media that  Yash Raj will follow for  future  releases: no  press meets  no promotional  engagements.

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Fake Projects of Pathaan Director Being Planted In Media

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Pathaan

Siddharth Anand Denies Considering  Any Project With  Deepak Mukut

A  word of caution to those marketing and publicity wizkids  who think  it’s okay to  plant fake stories  on (fake) projects  with the Pathaan director.

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 It is  not.

Such baseless announcements  are meant only to  raise  the equity  of the  producers  with whom Siddharth   Anand’s name is  linked. One  such  producer whose name  has cropped up after the  spectacular success of  Pathaan is  Deepak Mukut.

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There were  reports  everywhere that Siddharth Anand’s next would  be with Mukut.

Turned out to be a false rumour.

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A  source in the  know informs, “Siddharth now has to complete Fighter  starring Hrithik Roshan and  Deepika Padukone  for Yash Raj.Then  he  is   committed to direct the sequel to War 2 for  Yash Raj films.  They will then start  work on the  next film in the Pathaan  franchise. There is no scope  or  room for any outside  projects  for Siddharth Anand. So every announcement  that  you read of a  new film  to be  directed by Siddharth Anand  for an  outside  producer is likely to  be  a hundred  percent fake.”

When I asked Siddharth Anand  about the  supposed project  with  producer Deepak Mukut he promptly replied,  “NOT AT ALL.”

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Pink Director’s Next  Featuring Yami As A Crime Reporter To Stream From February 16

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Yami

Anniruddha Roy  Chowdhury whose  Pink  featuring Amitabh Bachchan and Taapsee Pannu was one of  the  most important  films of  2016, is all set to  release his  next  Hindi film.

Entitled LostAnniruddha’s film , based on true  events, will see Yami Gautam Dhar(that’s  what the actress calls herself after her marriage)  as a crime journalist. LOST is an emotional social thriller that represents a higher quest, a search for lost values of empathy and integrity.

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Inspired by true events, Lost is a story of a bright young woman crime reporter in her relentless search for the truth behind the sudden disappearance of a young theatre activist.

Lost

Lost

Says Aniruddha  “The shoot of LOST has been an incredible journey. I have been eager for the release of our hard-worked venture. The film is a realistic highlight of media in a social context and I am sure that it will give the audience a compelling watch. I am curious about its release and see the responses it shall get. I hope they will welcome it with open hearts.”

Yami Gautam Dhar  who plays  the lead  of  the  crime reporter  says,   “I can’t be happier and more proud of the film’s selection for the opening night at CSAFF. I feel like its one that the people will connect to and will be the one that you cannot miss, especially in the current age and time. I have loved playing this role because it was such a special experience, it allowed me to explore so many layers of emotions as an actor and the entire team has worked really hard on it. I genuinely cannot wait for the film’s release, especially to see the reactions of the audience to it.”

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The crime investigation  drama boasts a stellar cast. Along with Yami, the film will feature Pankaj Kapur, Rahul Khanna, and an ensemble of younger talent, including Neil Bhoopalam, Pia Bajpai, and Tushar Pandey, in pivotal roles.

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