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War Machine Has Brad Pitt Hamming All The Way To Doomsday: Movie Review

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Starring: Brad Pitt, Ben Kingsley, Meg Tilly

Directed by: David Michod

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Last week THE Brad Pitt was in Mumbai to promote his  new film which was released on Netflix this week.

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Now after seeing this dreadful war saga I realize Mr Pitt was wasting his time trying to generate interest in a film that is so outrageously mediocre and so self righteously ‘American’ in tone you wonder what Brad was promoting: the film or its heavily underlined message of American patriotism.

War Machine is one of those rare battle-scarred films that the actors try hard to prop up with  a blitzkrieg of  bravado. But the vacuousness and vapidity of the content is impossible to conceal. This is a film that wants to cry for  its beloved country and its brave soldiers who leave family and home to rough it out in the hostile impenetrable hinterland of Afghanistan.

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Director David Michod (best known for the wickedly quirky Australian  crime drama Animal Kingdom)  hits the shrill notes soon enough as the narrative introduces  us to General Glen McMohan who is  so full of it—Trump-esque bravado, I mean—you want to flip him over and shake him until he stops behaving like  General Patton on a night when he just couldn’t get it up.

The troops, I mean,

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It isn’t McMohan’s fault, really.It’s the way Brad Pitt plays him. The superstar, as American as ‘We Hate Osama’ teeshirts, grabs the character by his  jowls and goes right into its bowels in pursuit of the “real American patriot.” It is an over-stuffed,  grossly exaggerated performance, anointed by cheesy  ‘grey’ makeup, replete with theclichés of soldiering that we thought died with George C  Scott’s  General George Patton.

Brad has neither the booming baritone nor the bristling energy  to carry off the majestic shifts of wartime machismo that made Patton so imposing. Brad’s soldiering sensitivities make McMohan   more a brat than a hero.Ben Kingsley as the oblivious President  Of  Afghanistan  steals the show in one sequence where Pitt comes visiting in Kingsley’s bedroom.

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Kingsley explains to Pitt what the makers of this film fail to understand: sometimes it is best to let sleeping dogs lie.

There are some very interesting foot soldiers in this messed up mega-catastrophe , played by actors who seem to know  the purpose  of their  visit into this tortuously defensive tale of  the American will to poke its nose into foreign affairs.Some actors rise above the morass created by a director who thinks war is a zone that cinema cancrashland into without a map.

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There are some moments that rise above the banality of  the bravado to claim some seriousness  of intent. The very talented Meg Tilly(still remembered  for her star turn in Agnes Of God decades ago) shows up as Brad’s wife trying hard to empathize with his obsession with battle-front heroism. She  vaguely reminded me on Anjali Tendulkar who incidentally doesn’t try to act in the  new Sachin Tendulkar bio-pic that came  out this week.

You wish some of the principal actors  in War Machine would also have desisted from ‘acting’ so extravagantly. With a sledgehammer’s subtlety this utterly misguided film reminds us that Uncle Sam needs to be in difficult places because, well, he knows best.

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Brad Pitt won’t argue with that.He just visited India.

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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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Jamuna Had A Love-Hate Relationship With  Bollywood

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Jamuna

Veteran  Telugu  actress  Jamuna who passed away on Friday, shared an uneasy relationship with  the Hindi film industry.She did eleven Hindi films including the iconic Milan in  1967 where Jamuna  agreed to play the  second lead, or the  supporting role if you will, to Nutan.

 Jamuna as Gauri was the Other Woman who craved for the hero Sunil Dutt’s attention whereas  he had  eyes and devotion  only for Nutan. In later  years  Aruna Irani played a similar  role in  Caravan.

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 In Milan Jamuna  was not keen to  do a supporting role. Producer L V Prasad tempted her with three chartbusting songs. Besides, Jamuna had played the same role in Mooga Manasulu, the  Telugu original  of  Milan. But it  was the songs composed by Laxmikant-Pyarelal  which convinced  Jamuna to  take up the second lead in Milan.

 While  Nutan had no solo songs  in Milan, she did have the chartbuster duet  Sawan  ka mahina . Jamuna on the  other hand,  had two  splendid Lata Mangeshkar solos: Tohey saawariya naahin khabariya  and   the magnificent Ghazal Aaj dil pe koi  zor chalta nahin.Not only  these, Jamuna  also had a  hit duet  with Mukesh  based on her character  Gauri:  Bol Gauri  bol tera kaun piya.

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But  then, fate  intervened. After the film released  one of Jamuna’s solos, the poignant and memorable  Aaj dil pe koi zor chalta nahin was  snipped  out of the film.

Here is what  happened:  the  Ghazal , one of Lataji’s all-time greats, was very much a part of Milan when  it released on 17 March 1967. But then  it was seen to hamper the  flow of the  film and  edited  out. The  beautiful song occurred right after intermission. Producer  Prasad, a shrewd  filmmaker, got to know that audiences prolonged their  loo breaks as there was  a song after the break. Hence the sacrifice  of  a seriously  sonorous melody.

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Jamuna hardly did  Hindi films after Milan. Her last  Bollywood appearance  was in  Raj Kumar  Kohli’s Raj Tilak  where she  was lost in a multistarrer as  the royal  queen.

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