Super filmi week: Of clashing superheroes and crying Khans!

Witnessing superhero face-offs on big screen and small, cheering for Team India at ICC World T20 with an arsenal of movie gifs and hosting a crying contest between Bollywood’s Khan triumvirate, my super filmi week sure kept me both entertained and occupied.

Monday
A casual conversation with the husband about sandwiches brings up actor/filmmaker Jon Favreau’s Chef. Within seconds, I am mentally drooling recalling the scene where Favreau elegantly prepares the most perfect, melt-in-the-mouth grilled cheese. It’s hotter than the sight of Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr’s steamy beach rendezvous in From Here To Eternity. 

I hunt for its recipe on the web and discover Favereau’s old tweet sharing the secret ingredients — “Gruyere, cheddar, Parmesan, sourdough, butter, patience.”

Clearly, processed cheese won’t do.  It’s not the first time I tried cooking stuff based on how delicious it appeared in a movie — be it the gooey hot chocolate peppered with a pinch of chilli Juliette Binoche offers Judi Dench in Chocolat or remarkable rodent Remy’s career-defining ratatouille recipe in the Oscar-winning animation of the same name.

What’s it about food on film that makes it so tempting and glamorous? Even the poisonous apple concocted by Snow White’s witchy stepmother in the classic Disney cartoon looks too hard to resist in all its gorgeous, glazed, red glory.

One of my earliest movie memories is wondering why Amrita Singh won’t eat that decent looking peas pulao made by Sunny Deol. At that age, my only takeaway from Betaab, other than the peas pulao was Sunny’s yellow Labrador Bozo.

A still from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

Tuesday
Finally finished watching Daredevil’s Season 2 on Netflix. What a satisfying follow-up to an impressive, hard-to-outshine debut but episodes 3, 4, 8, 10 and 13, in particular, are outstanding.

Sly, shrewd twists, kinetic action (especially ones to take place in a corridor) and a credible coming together of its multiple narrative structure, Daredevil is reassuringly dark, dangerous and unpredictable.

What I like most is how every character’s journey and not just the vigilantes of Hell’s Kitchen is important to the series’ emotional core and narrative. I had my reservations about Elektra but as the series progressed in a unique direction, I felt differently, favourably.

Season 3 can’t come soon enough.
Daredevil Season 2
Wednesday

Out of the frying pan into the fire. I have no time for withdrawal syndrome, the kind one usually feels at the end of an all-consuming TV series binge with back-to-back screenings lined up in my day’s schedule.

My first movie of the day involves sitting through John Abraham’s deadpan heroics in and as Rocky Handsome, a remake of the South Korean action drama, The Man From Nowhere. Like I said in my review, it takes “storytelling not style to camouflage John’s limitations.”

I hope for better in the screening to follow. After all it’s one of the MOST awaited confrontations on big screen this year, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Two and a half hours later, my optimism is gone. I post my disenchantment with Zack Snyder’s “it is what it is” on Facebook.

“Watched Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. So it serves as a prelude to Justice League and is filled with comic book characters we are not only familiar with but adore, especially that one guy in a Batsuit. But Dawn of Justice takes his fanbase for granted in a manner so arrogant, almost sabotaging it. What you get then is a lazily written, choppy and boring superhero flick.

Nothing happens for so long in this even longer movie that I began to wonder if I am hallucinating the whole thing. Build-up has a time limit, yaar. I mean, those so-called twists or spoilers, about which Zack Snyder appealed viewers not to give away at the start of the movie. Really, that’s his big surprise?

Dull Batman, dreary Superman and Lex Luthor –oh man, Jesse Eisenberg’s performance is an unwieldy mash-up of Heath Ledger’s Joker and Shah Rukh Khan in Ram Jaane. Also if it looks so dimly lit on 2D, good luck catching anything in 3D.”

Batman v Superman: Dawn of JusticeThursday
Holi Hai!

Not a big fan of the festival in real life but in film I quite enjoy the spontaneity and chutzpah with which Raju and Biru bury the hatchet and splash colours at one another in Subhash Ghai’s bombastic Saudagar.

Aaj paitees saal se toh kisi ki himmat na hui jo jor-jabardasti mere oopar rang phair jaaye,” protests Dilip Kumar.

Haan colonel, iss aadmi par sirf ek hi insaan rang phenk sakta hai,” comments Raaj Kumar dryly and then proceeds to throw gulaal on his estranged buddy. The latter reciprocates in kind and the screen basks in their reunion highlighted in Laxmikant-Pyarelal’s throbbing background score.

Oh the pride, the camaraderie and the magic. Watching these two heavyweight veterans in action and the thrill it provides is testament to their enduring star power.
A scene from SaudagarFriday
Happy Birthday, Farooque Shaikh!

The star of Chashme Buddoor and Katha would have turned 68 today. To think it’s been two years since he passed away but it still feels strange to accept the truth.

All those fond thoughts I penned in a tribute play on my mind till I catch a glimpse of his sweet, serene smile no helmet in the world can conceal.

He breathes and beams in my memories.

Farooque Shaikh in Chashme BuddoorSaturday
Director Sooraj R Barjatya loves Prem, joint families AND apple.

The electronic giant? Nope.
The Grammy award-winning singer? Incorrect.
Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin’s daughter? Gawd, no!

The fruit, people, the fruit. You can spot healthy looking apples in every single film he’s directed so far — Maine Pyaar Kiya, Hum Aapke Hain Koun..,Vivah, Hum Saath Saath Hain, Main Prem Ki Diwani Hoon or Prem Ratan Dha Payo, apples seem more indispensable than Salman to Barjatya.

Directed by Sooraj R Barjatya

Sunday
Before rooting for the Indian cricket team in their all-important match against Australia with my ever-ready stock of animated movie gifs, I conducted a fun poll to find out which Khan cries best on screen.

According to the poll results, it’s a close fight between Shah Rukh and Aamir. Ultimately, the Talaash star wins by one per cent more votes even as Salman finishes last.

I am a wee surprised. Few can sob as uninhibitedly as King Khan or in as many movies as he has. Guess Aamir’s teary outbursts on television shows and movie screenings give him an added advantage over his colleagues.

Of the three Khans — Aamir, Salman and Shah Rukh, who’s your favourite crybaby?
Aamir, Salman and Shah Rukh Khan
This column was first published on rediff.com

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