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Moana Is Interesting But No Disney Classic

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Animation film

Directed by: John Musker & Ron Clements

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Rating: ** ½

There is much to be said about innocence in art, specially in this day and age when 4-year old children gets sexually violated by their uncles(see this week’s other far more significant film Kahaani 2).

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Moana celebrates the other side of darkness. It radiates a kind of infectious warmth that only an animation film , and that too one with the optimum faith in the power of love to heal and restore our broken humanism, can muster.

Moana is masterly in mustering  sunshine and optimism. But it scores less resoundingly in making us believe  that the ocean is actually filled with friendly creatures. We saw what the ocean do to a young girl in The Shallows.

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In a giddying swirl of oceanic ecstacy Moana goes the other way.  It is the story of a bright spunky pretty and pert  young Polynesian girl Moana who must set off on voyage to find a demi-god who can save her island and people.

Ah, ecological preservation amidst Nature’s bounty….Well done, Disney, Well done.  The film’s deeply swanky production design capturing the azure grace  of the ocean and the quaint captivating bustle of a Polynesian  island , thrives on stereotypical homages to the spirit of untarnished  innocence.The  film populates its precocity with characters who are so noble and kind-hearted, they make Nature look unnaturally bleached and  natural.

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The Polynesian populace is constantly singing dancing and breaking coconuts.Beyond a point you could break some too,on these vacuously blissful character’s heads. The sassy Moana’s kin seem to believe in the power of innocence to the extent that film obliterates all signs of mean-spiritedness  from the oceanic universe.

As Moana journeys into the sea she has for company the “demi God” Maui. The obese giant’s  character, though powered by Dwayne Johnson’s swaggering self-deprecating machismo, is defeated by its lack of dignity .

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No, you really can’t have a ‘demi God’ who behaves like a dummy God,  cracking awful jokes, talking to his multi-tattoos(yes Maui has an ongoing conversation with his  body imprints, try that for self-obsession) getting into unheroic situations with enemies in the water who surge forth with the fury of high-powered animation effects, and banters with Moana .

The quip-controlled conversations between the two unlikely co-voyagers as they sail to Tahiti brims with a dimestore wisdom and a designer gusto that would impress those who believe Disney is the domain of fortune-cookie wisdom and electioneering humour.

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Some sections of the global viewership would probably love Moana’s domineering attitude towards the godly hulk as the sail together. She treats the bulky  Maui with a mixture of childlike infection and a collateral  contempt. This barrage of  at-sea banter is engaging for starters. But soon gets tiresome as you realize that the co-directors are merely holding back the inevitable finale where family values and ecological equilibrium are magically restored.

This is a film that is constantly looking for approval.

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We can all applaud the film’s dazzling display of oceanic spectacle, and the voiced lucidity of Dwayne Johnson and Auli’i Cravalho (who speaks for Moana). But we’ve seen  it all too many times in Hindi films—the singing, dancing, family partings and reunions,even the bonding with the grandmother —to be impressed beyond a point.

Yes, the one thing that I was truly impressed by was the frequent bursts into lip-sync songs.There is some spirited singing by Louise Bush.It’s a Bollywood tradition tragically on the wane in Hindi cinema. Funny, how we love bouts of Bollywood in American cinema even as our own cinema rejects all Bollywood tradition for a more European and American approach to singing and other dramatic devices .

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Moana is a well-intended captivatingly crafted animation film with impeccable spatial harmony .What it lacks is a darker edge to underpin the eye-blazing sunshine that sweeps across the film. Imagine if in real life a young beautiful girl was really thrown into the ocean with a man who resembles a Sumo wrestler and behaves  like a fidgety mentally unbalanced primitive cave-man from the stone age who has just discovered  that those balloons he has been blowing are actually condoms.

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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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