Magnum Opus by Sujoy

Copyright 2007 | No part of the content or the blog may be reproduced without prior written permission. Mail me at :sujoy.singha[at]gmail[dot]com

Index of Movies

I have been reviewing movies for quite some time now. Here I have the index of all those which I have reviewed on this website.

Magnum Opus Index of Movie Reviews.

As you all know, I have moved to my new website

It also has movie reviews, and the Index page is given below.

OneKnightStands Movie Review Index.

Hope you enjoy reading them.


Hi everyone. We have moved from this address to

Check out the new site for all my latest posts on Movies, Music, Pop Culture, Humor and much more.


I remember Mira Nair's "Monsoon Wedding" vividly. Though I am no resident of Delhi or as they call it "Delhite" , Monsoon Wedding gave me the smell of the tea at the "Tapdee" of Connaught place, the hustle and rickshaws in Purani Dilli, the chuskis and Wedding Bazars of Chandni Chowk and of course the Rain drenched Skies of the Capital. I walk in the theatre and as the reels of "The Namesake" start to roll, I am given a different treat this time around. It is Kolkata or rather , Calcutta of the late 70s. The trams, the ghats, the Maajhis, the processions , the red flags , the chants of "jindabad jindabad" and the gullies. It's all captured and you can smell it. And well, I must say, I am not a Bong, neither do I belong to Kolkata.

Spoiler Warnings: If you haven't seen the movie, the movie details might be revealed. But I can't help mention the story.

"The Namesake" begins with the story of Ashok Ganguly(Irrfan Khan) at Howrah Station(I guess), who on his way to Jam(Shedpur), meets an accident while he was reading a book by Nikolai Gogol. He survives and this incident leaves a deep impact on his mind. Ashok becomes a PhD in New York in fibre optics.He gets married to Ashima(Tabu) in pure Indian arranged marriage isshtyle. Following the wedding, they move to America, and Ashima ,leaving behind the warm, familiar climate of Calcutta, must adjust to life in New York in winter. Lonely, cold and depressed, Ashima nonetheless does her best to make her way in her new home, as she learns to love her new husband. She has her first breakfast with Kellog's and salted peanut's, just how (Mira)Nair treats us with details about Ashima's efforts to adjust with a place far away from home.We get muted emotions portrayed with so much finesse when it comes to the love of the newly wed couple,who show their love in very subtle ways. The Gangulys are blessed with a son, whom they have to hurriedly name Gogol( the accident and "the Overcoat" connection). The Gangulys eventually move to the suburbs and are friends with other Pravasi Bengalis who try to create a home like atmosphere away from home by having the occasional traditional ceremonies and also participate in each other's family events like Naamkarans of the newborn.
Plot 2 begins when Gogol(Kal Penn) grows up to find that he has been named after tragic 19th Century Russian writer Nikolai Gogol, a topic on which he is often picked upon. Gogol is rebellious, listens to Pearl Jam, Americanised and is caught in the cultural divide. Ashima is taken aback by some of her children's Westernisms, she's never anything less than polite. Ashok wants to tell his son why he was named Gogol , but is hesitant. Meanwhile, Gogol goes ahead and changes his name to Nikhil. On their trip back home to India, Gogol discovers the city of Calcutta. The ATMS have arrived, but the rickshaw pullers are still there. Somethings haven't changed. Ashima decides upon a family trip to the Taj Mahal at Agra. Gogol is blown away by the beauty of Mughal Architecture and decides to opt for an Architecture Major at Yale. Gogol becomes established as an architect working at the Big Apple, and has a relationship with an American Girl Maxie. Gogol spends more time with his girlfriend and her parents, hardly calls his parents and Ashima silently complains. We get to see more glimpses of the cultural divide, when Gogol instructs Maxie what not to do when they go to visit his parents.On their visit home, Ashok finally tells him the significance of the name "Gogol", of how he survived the accident while he was reading "the Overcoat". He tells how the voice of the other traveller echoed in his ears saying " pack your bags and go abroad..". That is why he chose to move to America. Gogol questions Ashok if he is reminded of that incident everytime he thinks of him.Ashok replies that Gogol reminds him of everything that happened after that, of how everything after that has been " a miracle" for him. You see the tenderness, the strength, the composure and the breakdown in Ashok's moist eyes. Gogol moves ahead to New York, away from his folks.Ashok gets a semester contract to teach at Ohio, where he meets a heart attack and passes away. Ashima is left alone, stranded, and lost. Gogol ,when faced with the tragedy of losing his Baba, regrets,his heart aches and he wishes if he could turn back time and appreciate his father when he was alive.
Plot3: Gogol finally realises his own indentity, shedding off the American skin, and shaving off his head. The family reunites to go back to India to immmerse the ashes of his late father.By this time, Gogol has broken up with Maxie. Ashima tries to hitch up Gogol with another Bengali girl, Moushumi. Gogol and Moushumi get married only to discover that they are two absolutely different individuals who want different things and perhaps different partners in case of Moushumi. Ashima finally decides to move back to India, sell her home in America and persuade learning Indian Classical Music. One of the most moving scenes for me in the movie is when Gogol goes back to his old room and finds the Book gifted to him by his Baba on his graduation day, a book by Gogol with the note written, "Gogol, for the man who gave you his name, from the man who gave you your name". Gogol tells his mother, that inspite of the fact that everyone is leaving ,when he should feel very upset about it, he rather feels liberated and free and finally has understood his Baba's lines "We all come out from under Gogol's Overcoat."

The Performances:

Tabu to me has not enacted but lived Ashima Ganguly and breathes the character following a path of subtle changes as she progresses from a blushing bride to a middle aged widow.With incredible subtlety, Tabu ages Ashima from period to period, carving character without dialogue, playing the scenes as much between the lines as through them. Give her all the awards.
Ashok played by Irrfan Khan, brilliant!!!! The depiction of a Bong , without ridiculing the accent, and the internal turmoil that he faces in expressing his affection for his son has been perfectly portrayed. The silent grace and dignity that reflects in Ashok's character has been brilliantly brought to life by Khan, and his nobility lingers throughout the movie even after the character's demise.

Kal Penn ,kudos.He perfectly captures the essence of the so-called ABCD(American Born Confused Desi), and brings to life, the plight and the pain of being an ABCD until he finally finds his own identity. We get to see the growth in his character as the growth of his hair follows a negative trend :P

The Masters:
The incense of Nitin Sawhney's Score.
Jhumpa Lahiri, the writer of the Book. Khade Ho Jaaiye aur taali Bajaaiye.She also has a cameo role in the movie, in the scene of Gogol's younger sister's naming ceremony.
Frederick Elmes cinematography.Impeccable.Perfect in depicting 1970s and 1990s Calcutta, as well as the lonely winters,the dark rooms, the green suburbs and the utterly metropolitan America.
Sooni Taraporevala,the scriptwriter and Mira Nair,the Director.Both have been more than successful in bringing "Namesake" to life.Like the Gangulis, Nair stands between the two cultures, and here she knits them together, by shuttling between two continents and shows the similarities--their massive bridges, crowded buildings, and streets teeming with people and also the obvious differences.
She strikes deep personal chords resonating with the stories of those millions of Pravasi Indians living in a home away from home.Nair's approach to details--a pause,unspoken words speaking volumes,a touch, a caress,details in the crowd makes "Namesake" one of the most riveting, touching and a very personal movie experience.

Digg Technorati Stumbleupon Reddit Blinklist Furl Spurl Yahoo Simpy

When they say comics are for kiddos, I say, grow Up. 300 is definitely not for the Kids. When Frank Miller's "Dark Knight" series of Batman Adaptation hit stores almost 20 years ago, the whole theory of comics aiming at low brow entertainment got changed. It is 2007, and a whole new school of film making replicates the visual spectacle of Frank Miller's Graphic Novel "300" and WHAT A SPECTACLE it is indeed. Distilled to its essence, it is a graphic novel come to life on the celluloid-page by page, frame by frame.
The Story: Its 480 BC, and Spartan King Leonidas is faced with the problem: 200,000 Persians approaching Greece led by King Xerxes. Leonidas cannot submit to Xerxes' reign as a true free person and as a true Spartan King. The Spartan council is reluctant to send the entire army, since their oracle has informed them that they can’t win. Leonidas however, manages to "go for a stroll" with his bodyguards comprising of "300" handpicked Spartans and marches to the coast to meet the invaders. His plan is to force the Persian's in the narrow bottleneck known as the Hot Gates, thus stalling their advance, until his wife can plead in front of the council to send the entire army.
But well, enough being said of the story , we are here for what we are here--Testosterone Explosivo. A feast for the eyes, OTT( Over the Top) Hyperviolence, and Never Before Seen Beheadings in Leisurely SloMo with Blood Spilling all over the (Blue)Screen.Those 90 minutes are the best 90 minutes I ever had at the movies so far, which I probably had the last time when I saw Neo dodge a bullet from the Agents. So it doesn't matter to me if Zack Snyder's adaptation of the Battle of Thermopylae is set against racing Heavy Metal Music, or critics crying out ," 300 dazzles as spectacle, but as history it's dodgy". Leave that out. I have my eyes laid upon the roaring action, the Blue and the Green Screen, the bronze tinted Six Packs, the Blood Spilling and the Bling Bling of Xerxes. I clap when Leonidas shouts " SpaaarTannnz!!!!!!", and I jump out of the chair when a head falls. The spears flying, the arrows piercing the skin,the dark faced Immortals, the monster creatures, and an inflated "Gollum",300 has them all. Its like LOTR once again, this time on STEROIDS.So what, if it does not have the mythology of Tolkien to support, and has the Graphic Gore of Miller instead. 300 shines for me more than Xerxes' ornaments.Prepare your eyes from popping out from their sockets in the face of such SuperEnergized Visuals. Well, my friends at have a few words to say..

If Gladiator and Sin City had a baby, it'd look a whole lot like Zack Snyder's 300. Visually arresting and wildly cut together, 300 is (despite its well-earned R-rating) precisely the kind of movie that turns 14-year-old boys into ravenous movie geeks.

And I am dying in anticipation for its DVD release. Because for me then, I shall have the power, the power of the Remote , to rewind the bloodbath spectacle of Snyder. Haaaauuuuuu!!!!!!!!

SpaaaarTaaaNNZZZ!!!!! Enjoy your Breakfast. Tonite !!! We dine in Hell!!!!!!!!!!

5 Spears out of 5 Spears, Bang on Xerxes' Eye....

Digg Technorati Stumbleupon Reddit Blinklist Furl Spurl Yahoo Simpy

A movie which begins with the lines " A long ass fucking time ago..." is defintely supposed to rock hard ,isn't it? And yes it does. " Coz its the Pick of Destiny's Child,you know I will be rockin' cause it's fucking insane! And doth we know, that it is indeed fucking INSANE. Coz, its the D which comes alive with its powerful Rock and kills the Devil, and also pay their rent side by side.

For the uninitiated, Tenacious D: Pick of Destiny stars Jack Black as JB or Jables and Kyle Gass as KG or Kage , and is the story( more or less a chronicling of events ) of how the band Tenacious D was formed (more real than ever, in the words of JB) and how they become , the self-proclaimed "Greatest Band in the World".

The movie is a treat for all the D fans, but for those who haven't been so aware of their music or their HBO Television shows, it shouldn't be an obstacle for you from enjoying the movie, and also enjoying the great lyrics of the Soundtrack, right from the intro of "young JB" in Kickapoo which
goes something like..

A long ass fuckin' time ago,
In a town called Kickapoo,
There lived a
humble family
Religious through and through.
But yay there was a black
And he knew just what to do.
His name was young J.B. and he
refused to step in-line.
A vision he did see-eth
Fuckin' rockin' all the
He wrote a tasty jam and all the planets did align

Young JB is outrageously hilarious perfectly imitating Black's ecstasies of stagecraft and communing with the spirit of Ronnie James Dio. He runs away from home for his quest to form the world's most awesome band and he arrives at Hollywood . At Venice Beach, he meets Kage ,his Partner in Crime, Kyle Gass aka Rage Kage 5000.
Special mention: Classico. The song, featured in the movie, is an exploration of classical guitar music in aid of proving Kyle Gass's musical powers to Jack Black. In it, Gass plays sections from Bach's Bourrée in E minor (from Suite in E minor, BWV 996), Für Elise by Beethoven and Eine Kleine Nachtmusik by Mozart. Jack sings along harmoniously to Gass's guitar playing and thus proves to Lee, that Tenacious D is a viable band.(Source: And well, JB's powerful (is that the word) lyrics..

Can’t you see he’s the man, let me hear
you applaud
he is more than a man he's a shiny golden god.

If you
think its time to fucking rock, and fucking roll, out of control,
and then
you know you got to rock the block,
and fucking suck my fucking cock,
'cause when you rule, you fucking school all of the fools, out of their
'cause if you think it’s time,
if you think it’s time,
you think it’s time to fucking rock.

He is going to kick your fucking
and you know his name is Kyle Gass,
rocking and fucking rolling,
and fucking rocking,
and fucking rolling

When Jables and Kage are faced with the question of paying their rent, they have to rock everyone's socks off. And so, History as they say, repeats itself, ( a song which most D fans would remember from the HBO TV Series)
We ride with kings on mighty steeds across the devil's plain
we've walked
with Jesus and his cross
he did not die in vain No!

we' ve run
we've climbed K2 even stopped a moving train
through space and time my friends to rock this house again Rock!

fingers be silver
Jack's voice then be gold
both lest you think
we're vain!

We know its the showcase and we
don't care
Tenacious D
we reign...

Black and Gass, who wrote the screenplay with director Liam Lynch, make enough room for virtually every element in D-mythology, from the band's first meeting with their number-one fan Lee (JR Reed, who played the same role on the TV series and has appeared in concert with them as well) to a hallucinatory encounter with a Sasquatch (the subject of a particularly odd Tenacious D ditty) well, which for me was the most dragging part of the entire plot. The storyline is also partially derived from one of their most famous songs, "Tribute," in which the guys are challenged by a demon to perform the Best Song in the World. The Pick of Destiny finds JB and KG in pursuit of the titular guitar pick, which, legend has it, was carved from Satan's tooth. This quest inevitably brings them into contact with the Dark Lord himself and in order to escape his clutches, they have to play--you guessed it--the Best Song in the World.
Surprise blink cameos (you know, go off in a blink) by Ben Stiller, Meatloaf, Dave Grohl,Ronney James Dio , Tim Robbins in a Captain Jack Sparrow Teeth Role, and well, who was that girl, in the role of the most miserable North American waitress role, Crotch Pushups( You read that right), Power Slides, and of course a moral to top..."Satan's not in a guitar pick. He's in all of us!"..Pick of Destiny has it all.
So I don't give it a damn what the critics say. POD won't make it to the Oscars List ever, or well not be very popular even in the main pop culture comedy already filled this year by Will Ferrell's take on NASSCAR or Sacha Baron Cohen's bout with Afghanistan's two Golden Globes (if you know what I mean....).POD is very special to me, like it is to every D fan.Jack Black Rocks , especially when he Rocks in Master Exploder, Kyle Gass what can I say, dude....yeaaaahhhhhhhhh....that was bad ...aaaaaaaassssss.....Go Now Kyle Go Now Kyle 1...2....3...Tenacious D..we reign.....Burrito Supreme... haa Chicken Supreme...
Alert: For those who are easily offended by words like fuck, crotch, cock et al, Buzz Off!!!!
What did you expect from Tenacious D?

Digg Technorati Stumbleupon Reddit Blinklist Furl Spurl Yahoo Simpy


I have been quite unfamiliar with the work of Deepa Mehta except for a few scenes of 1947:Earth and Bollywood/Hollywood. Well, before writing anything about the movie, I must say, it takes a hell lot of determination in completing a movie like Water which has been through so many obstacles and had run into so much troubled"water" itself. Splashed across the media for the wrong reasons,Deepa Mehta , after her first two movies in her elements trilogy, was being attacked for her third feature,Water when the shooting began in Banaras. She had to pack up everything and also face the burden of actors backing out. She was forced to return to Canada and well, she made a romantic comedy, Bollywood/Hollywood in between with Lisa Ray and Rahul Khanna in the lead. But Water needed to be made: it was a story needed to be told. Productions began in SriLanka, a compromised setting but nevertheless, Deepa Mehta succeeds in bringing the story to celluloid, or rather celluloid.

As the reels begin to roll, we witness the 8 year old Chuiya (Sarala) who has been widowed and is forcibly sent to the Vidhwa Aashram headed by the fat old Madhoo Didi(Manorama). The charm of young Chuiya and her mother-like relation with Shakuntala( Seema Biswas) and a sister-like relation with Kalyani (Lisa Ray) is what forms the core of the movie. Kalyani falls for Narayan(John Abraham), a tall, handsome, foreign-educated follower of Gandhi. But I think, the film could have done without it. The story of Kalyani remains very blurred in depiction as characters hardly talk and mostly because Lisa Ray's beauty becomes more of an obstruction to me, from sympathising or may be relating with the character( Critics say she is the most gorgeous widow to have graced the Indian celluloid ever). Seema Biswas is a wonderful actor and she brings in the angst,anxiety and desperation to full light and her efforts to rescue Chuiya ,is the only saving grace from the not-so-impressive climax. Rahman's music succeeds in bringing the effect of rain and the feel of drops on your skin with "Aayo re"(my favourite soundtrack in the movie).

You take home lots of questions and also lots of unanswered smiles. Especially, when Buaa keeps asking for Ladoos and Mithaee. Joyous moments when you smile at Kalyani and Chuiya clapping as it rains outdoors and when the entire Ashram gets colored up at Holi with "Shyam Rang " in Richa Sharma's voice plays along.

All in all, a must see for all who have been waiting for so long to lay their eyes on something really meaningful. Cinematically, it can't be called a masterpiece. But this is a movie which transcends all critic rating systems and box office figures. I conclude with something written by famous Movie Critic Roger Ebert(
"That a film like "Water" still has the power to offend in the year 2006 inspires the question: Who is still offended, and why, and what have they to gain, and what do they fear?"

Next up: 300

Digg Technorati Stumbleupon Reddit Blinklist Furl Spurl Yahoo Simpy

Apocalypto is as thrilling as any adventure movie can get. It is a perfect display of the powerful story-telling expertise of Mel Gibson. Though it brings to me a traumatic flashback of a 1980's controversial exploitation feature called Cannibal Holocaust, Apocalypto triumphs in bringing in the human element and rise above the graphic gore , a feat Mr.Gibson is often associated with(post or pre Passion of the Christ).

Although the narrative has a myth-like simplicity, it doesn’t feel overextended at 138 minutes, thanks to Gibson’s ability to establish characters quickly and shape each scene in a way that creates a headlong momentum.

All the actors are unknowns, but they’re so consistently strong that they may not remain that way for long. Rudy Youngblood, a 25-year-old Native American who plays the hero, Jaguar Paw, has piercing eyes and a remarkable presence. When he’s kidnapped by another tribe, and his son and pregnant wife hide out underground, he promises he’ll return to save them. We have no reason to doubt his pledge.

Helping to establish Jaguar’s authority is a Cassandra figure, a diseased child who condemns the kidnappers with a series of ominous warnings. When they’re fulfilled, Jaguar is saved from human sacrifice, and he leads his tormentors on a merry chase that’s reminiscent of “The Naked Prey” as well as Br’er Rabbit’s tricky Briar Patch.

Gibson and his first-time co-writer, Farhad Safinia, have come up with their own vision of 15th-Century Mayan civilization, which may or may not have anything to do with historical fact, and hence many critics and anthropologists have left no stones unturned in accusing them of historical inaccuracies.

For the most part, the setting is used as the background for a series of close calls and daring feats that suggest Saturday-matinee cliffhangers rather than a serious attempt to recreate a dying Mayan culture.

The actors speak Yucatec Maya, which is translated into English subtitles that can be jarringly modern. “Move it” sounds a little odd in this context, and so does one hilarious profanity. But so little of “Apocalypto” relies on dialogue that Gibson ends up using a lot of silent-film shorthand to tell his story.

The cinematographer is the Australian Dean Semler, who won an Oscar for “Dances With Wolves” and this time uses a handheld camera to tear through the jungle in a way that’s just short of dizzying. Whenever you think he’s gone too far, he pulls back and gives you breathing space. The same could be said of Gibson’s direction, which has never seemed this smooth before.

From breathtaking visuals of Waterfalls and fast chases in the jungle,to underwater plunges and oh so bloody hearts teared upon, Apocalypto is definitely not for the weak-hearted.

My Rating:3.5 on 5

Digg Technorati Stumbleupon Reddit Blinklist Furl Spurl Yahoo Simpy

Newer Posts Older Posts Home