Wednesday, December 13, 2006

One Book and Three Movie Reviews

White Teeth

Abu Sinan tagged me with a book meme; I will just change the task slightly (I know it's not allowed but... ).

What is the last book that you bought and why? What was good or bad about it?

The last book I bought was White Teeth by Zadie Smith. A friend had recommended it to me.

Usually when girls recommend a book to me, especially by a brown female writer, I stay away from that book. Those books tend to be very weepy weepy (you know what I mean), written by an elitist person who hates her own culture and puts forward every negative aspect of their community in a very stereotypical manner. Brick Lane by Monica Ali is a prime example. I HATED that piece of trash.

Thankfully White Teeth was not like that at all. My friend had good taste. It deals with multiculturalism, race issues and assimilation of immigrants into Britain. There is a white guy (Archie) and a Bangladeshi British (Iqbal) and the story is about them and their families and children. Although it deals with some serious issues (racism, terrorism, white supremacy, desi ghettos) it never loses its fun factor. At times therefore it may appear cartoonish, but on the whole it's a good read.

Ultimately I judge a book by it's put down factor - whether I want to go on reading and finish the book at one go or I need to take a break because it is too deep/boring/heavy. White Teeth definitely belongs to the former category. If I could compare it to one other book, it would be The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (another excellent book).


Mel Gibson is noted for blood and gore in his movies.

Ignore the Mayan dialogs and the incomprehensible title. This is not a bad movie. It does not touch the heights of Braveheart but amidst all the beheading and chopping of limbs and spears driving through hearts it's hard not to draw parallels between what is happening on screen (tribes fighting each other before the white Europeans destroy a civilization) and Iraq, or the pillaging of our environment. For some reason it was not as powerful as it sounds here but it was there. I have a feeling that guys would not mind having spent 10 bucks at the end of the movie, but girls would feel cheated.

It's not a great movie because of some reasons. The subtitles, for one. In one scene (after the 1000th killing) one of the Mayans turns and says something to another. Subtitle: "He's f***ed." And too much gore is another reason.


I (heart) Albion/Woodside cinemas (the local Indian cinemas of Toronto).


Because when we wanted to see this hyped up movie, we found out it wasn't playing at any of the Indian theaters, but at the famous English theaters. Yes I know Woodside has some problems. The seats. The fact that if a tall sardar with a huge turban seats in front of you, there goes your movie. And so on. But it somehow feels wrong to watch a Hindi movie at an English theatre. Not to mention that there was no intermission. I don't care how comfortable your seat is, staying seated for 3 hours is tough.

Baabul was a great movie. Yes it dealt with some traditional stuff. But it was also dealt with an uncomfortable truth. What happens to widows? Even though the film dealt with a Hindu family, cast your mind to Muslim widows. How many have a life after the death of their husband? The second half was a bit gloomy though. The acting was good. For some reason Rani Mukherjee didn't look as good as I wanted her to.

Apna Sapna Money Money

Consider this scene.

Girl: I always thought when I meet that someone special, there would be guitars playing in my heart.
Guy: Why don't we do one thing You hug me, in such a way so that my face is resting between your boobs. Then you close your eyes, and while I sniff your scent like a pervert, you tell me if there is a guitar in your heart.
[Girl does as suggested. Song "Dil Mein Baaji Guitar" starts to play]

Can you take such a movie seriously? No! And that is precisely why this movie is so enjoyable. It is full of gags and comic scenes. Every five or ten minutes you are bursting into a chuckle or laughter at the sillyness (on purpose) of the gags. It's a thorough timepass paisa wasul film.


Anonymous said...

hey Mezba, which theatre is babul playing in? I only found a listing for brampton.

mezba said...

AMC theatres. Check out and show Babul listings. AMC Commons in Scarborough and AMC 30 in Vaughan I know for sure are playing it.

isheeta said...

Also check out AMC COurteney Park in Mississauga, if youre in the burbs anon.. I saw a big poster with Big B and Rani there.

And my Friday night rental shall now be... boobs and guitar movie, how can one not be motivated to watch that?!

Anonymous said...

Ahhh!Haven't been to the movies for ages!I used to enjoy the times we went with dh(seems like centuries ago!)I have a 5 yr old so I can't take her to see movies I want,but right now,am waiting for her to start grade 1 and I can go with the baby at front st where they have this mummy/baby movie place. Yes, boring, but what can I do,I just love movies,and when we go with dh,we have to come to an understanding,he likes bloodshed,I like chick flicks and now, we have to consider the kids,so we are stuck!sf

mezba said...

Isheeta: Enjoy the rental! It starts off a little corny but then picks up as soon as Ritesh Deshmukh makes his entry. And the girls in the movie... oooomph personified.

sf: Aw, really? Isn't it possible to get a mother-in-law or some family to take care of the babies for 2-3 hours? I think the bloodshed/chick flick conflict is universal. That's where Hindi movies come in - they are both!

Aisha said...

I adore White Teeth.

I learned of it first when we got bumped to business class on british air and had our very own console to watch any movie we could dream of (ahhhh it was fabulous) anyways back to the point, the movie we saw was WHITE TEETH.. apparently it was made into a miniseries/show. We saw a few episodes of it and were riveted. So naturally I had to read the book. I like the book though I found the ending a little off puttingt. I hate endings that ar enot real endings.

Maleeha said...

Am I the only one in the world who didnt like Kite Runner? The ending was too fake for me.

Anonymous said...

Naah,we are the only ones here(no family)so,we just got each other, and kinda creating our own. Times like these, you wish you had someone to just take care of the kids. The closest thing I got is TMN,so atleast,when the kids are sleeping, I can watch by myself,which I look forward to! My husband wouldn't watch indian movies, I haven't watched that many recently,just the ones that are shown on omni tv (sometimes).sf.

Maliha said...

Maleeha it has to be in the name again:) I absolutely hated Kite Runner. It's not just the ending, but so many parts were just too contrived for me...

and i hated the spineless, whiny protagonist, which really meant the book didn't stand a chance.

okay there's my venting for the day, sorry Mezba. I hated brick lane too, if that helps:)

I have to check out white teeth now.

Shabina said...

mizzle, fret not, my fiance thought it was awful, too :)

(i liked it though)

i already love white teeth, thought it was hilarious. havent read zadie smith's newest stuff, though, b/c i heard it wasn't as good...

Maleeha said...

Shabs, your fiance's got good taste. Obviously ;)

Maliha...Thank you! I seriously did not like that whole book, but the ending was just the confirmation of how much I disliked the whole thing.

Hmm, Mezba this Baabul movie sounds promising, but I'm surprised I havent heard anything about it here. Just the title makes me want to see it, b/c it reminds me about randomly crying around the time of my wedding, when I used to listen to songs about girls leaving their father's houses when they get married. Sweet times :)

Mango Addict said...

I can never understand how you can bring yourself to watch tapori movies from beginning to end! Even with Kaal, I was surprised no one else had the strong urge to just walk out of that theatre after 5 minutes!
Anywhoo, I've heard great things about White Teeth as well, I shall pick it up during winter break InshaAllah, and I hated Brick Lane too. In fact that book made me really depressed, so I guess it was well written, but I hated everything else about it.
Another depressing book that kinda deals with the immigrant situation in London "Maps for Lost Lovers" by Nadeem Aslam, I've never felt so depressed after reading a book after this one. It questions a lot of Islamic rulings, but then the characters (and the author too methinks) were highly misinformed about the religion itself. The one good thing about that novel was the poetic prose it used, very rich, thats why I finished it.
Since you're such a big Aish fan, ever cosidered reading Mistress of Spices? Heard the book was good, even if the movie sucked.

mezba said...

Aisha: There is a movie for White Teeth? This I gotta see. If I knew earlier wouldn't have bothered to read the book! Yes the ending was a bit anti-climatic.

Maleeha: I was going to say yes :) but your namesake proved me wrong. I thought it was a great book, even though the hero was a bit gayish. It was very informative though. I got it when I was in New York, and it was my subway read. Time just flew by!

SF: Oh they do play some good movies on OMNI but usually it's old stuff. Also with the commercials you are stuck stretching a 3 hr movie into 4.5! Hindi movies aren't so bad though, especially some of the new ones. Get your husband to check out Don - it's presented very slickly, almost like a Hollywood movie.

mezba said...

Maliha: Thank God you and Maleeha have different spellings of your name, unlike the famous Suroors. Do let us know what you think of White Teeth. There are so many things wrong with Brick Lane.

Shabina: Opposites attract! Maybe you can explain to your fiance why Kite Runner was good. I heard Ms. Smith actually got better (but she also said her mentor was Salman Rushdie so I don't know if I believe that). I don't like Rushdie's writing, not because of their controversial content but because I find it boring.

mezba said...

Maleeha: Baabul has been hyped up big, especially because Amitabh, Hema and Salman are back in it after the highly successful Baghbaan, to be joined by Rani. To tell you the truth I didn't have high expectations of it (thought it would be another overhyped movie) but it had a good script and story, even if the cinematography left a little to be desired.

Mango Addict: We were at T's house in the village, and it was either Table tennis (which I suck at), poker (which the others sucked at coz I rule) or a movie. Honestly we put it on to make fun of the movie, but soon it was so silly it was funny. I love the picturization of the song Dil Mein Baaji Guitar.

As for Kaal, I remember *cough*some*cough*people*cough* didn't complain when John Abraham was on screen.

mezba said...

Mango Addict and others who hated Brick Lane:

It was terrible book. Yes, I know when a 40 year old guy in Britain employed as a lowly worker goes back to his village in Bdesh to marry a 16 year old virgin, there are bound to be problems. The girl will not be able to speak English and will be in a bind and an unhappy marriage.

What I didn't like was the fact how Ali magnified each stereotype and focused on trivialities. Why does Naznin hate her husband? Not because he cannot satisfy her, but because he got a drop of jhol (gravy) on his torn white vest. Oh please!!! Gimmee a break.

Mango Addict said...

if by your innumerable coughs you mean me, sadly you're gravely mistaken. I was never one to ogle at John "I spend 6 hours a day in front of a mirror" Abraham. For the record, I abhored every bit of that movie, actors included, and if you hadn't noticed, haven't really been going on those group movie trips since. I get my "paisa vasool" via torrents, thank you very much.

mezba said...

No Mango, those coughs were directed at your friend, who sadly does not read this blog.

koonj said...

My problem with Brick Lane was a more frivolous one. It's BORING.

OK Mezba, I know i gotta not see that money money film. OK, if the dialogue is in Hindi, what word does he use for boobs btw? I just have to know.

You're one crazy mezba, you are.

isheeta said...

If you REALLY want to talk about an AWFUL desi style book... Lond0nstani by Guatam Malkani... GOOD GOD IT WAS AWFUL!!!

I read White Teeth before the movie came out... both were very good, but the book was definitely better.